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LAM - bee - oh - SAW - rus

Copyright 2007

Field Notes

Name Means: "Lambe's lizard"
Length: 49 feet (15 m)
Diet: Herbivore (Plant-Eater)
Time: Late Cretaceous
Location: Alberta, Canada; Montana, USA; Baja California, Mexico

One of the largest of the crested duckbill dinosaurs (lambeosaurine hadrosaurs), Lambeosaurus lived in the same area and at the same time as several other members of this group of low-browsing herbivores. It seems, in fact, that several species of Lambeosaurus lived at the same time. They were distinguished by different-shaped bony crests on the tops of their heads, in much the same way that different kinds of modern deer and antelope have different-shaped antlers or horns. Lambeosaurus lambei had a hatchet-shaped crest projecting slightly forward from the top of its skull and a solid spur further back on the head, whereas L. magnicristatus had a single-piece crest more like that of Corythosaurus.

As in other lambeosaurines, the hollow crest would have formed a resonating chamber for its calls, amplifying them and making a distinctive sound in each species. The shape and patterning of the crest would also have helped individuals to recognize each other in the herd.

Nearly 20 skulls and skeletons of Lambeosaurus have been described. One fossil deposit, a "bonebed" containing hundreds of jumbled up skeletons buried by floods, includes specimens of Lambeosaurus along with Corythosaurus, Prosaurolophus, Gryposaurus, and Parasaurolophus, which suggests that these duckbills shared the same habitat and may even have migrated in huge mixed herds.

Some Lambeosaurus fossils display detailed impressions of the skin, showing that the skin of the body had a "pebbly" texture and that a weblike sheath of skin joined the fingers. When they were first described, these "webbed hands" were thought to prove the now-out-moded idea that duckbills were aquatic. The "web" actually enclosed a fleshy pad on the palm like that on a camel's foot.

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