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A New Horned Dinosaur from an Upper Cretaceous Bone Bed in Alberta

By: PJ Currie, W Langston and DH Tanke

144 pages, Figs, illus, tabs

NRC Research Press

Hardback | Oct 2008 | #178363 | ISBN-13: 9780660198194
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £41.99 $55/€48 approx

About this book

In the first monographic treatment of a horned (ceratopsid) dinosaur in almost a century, this monumental volume presents one of the closest looks at the anatomy, relationships, growth and variation, behavior, ecology and other biological aspects of a single dinosaur species. The research, which was conducted over two decades, was possible because of the discovery of a densely packed bone bed near Grande Prairie, Alberta. The locality has produced abundant remains of a new species of horned dinosaur (ceratopsian), and parts of at least 27 individual animals were recovered.

This new species of Pachyrhinosaurus is closely related to Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis, which is known from younger rocks near Drumheller and Lethbridge in southern Alberta, but is a smaller animal with many differences in the ornamental spikes and bumps on the skull. The adults of both species have massive bosses of bone in the positions where other horned dinosaurs (like Centrosaurus and Triceratops) have horns. However, juveniles of the new species resemble juveniles of Centrosaurus in having horns rather than bosses. Skull anatomy undergoes remarkable changes during growth and the horns over the nose and eyes of the Pachyrhinosaurus juveniles transform into bosses; spikes and horns develop on the top of and at the back of the frill that extends back over the neck. No cause has been determined for the apparent catastrophic death of the herd of Pachyrhinosaurus from the Grande Prairie area, but it has been suggested that such herds may have been migratory animals.

In addition to the main descriptive paper, the volume includes information on the distribution of bones within the bone bed itself, and a cutting-edge digital treatment of CT-scan data of the fossils to reveal the anatomy of the animal's brain!

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Philip J. Currie is a professor and Canada Research Chair at The University of Alberta (Department of Biological Sciences), is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary, and was formerly the Curator of Dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. He took his BSc at the University of Toronto in 1972, and his MSc and PhD at McGill in 1975 and 1981. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1999) and a member of the Explorers Club (2001). He has published more than 100 scientific articles, 95 popular articles and 14 books, focussing on the growth and variation of extinct reptiles, the anatomy of carnivorous dinosaurs and the relationships with the origin of birds. Fieldwork connected with his research has been concentrated in Alberta, Argentina, British Columbia, China, Mongolia, the Arctic and Antarctica. His awards include the Sir Frederick Haultain Award for significant contributions to science in Alberta (1988), the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Michel T. Halbouty Human Needs Award (1999), the Michael Smith Award (2004) and the ASTech (Alberta Science and Technology Leadership) Award for outstanding leadership in Alberta Science (2006). He has given hundreds of lectures on dinosaurs all over the world, and is often interviewed by the press.
Wann Langston is a professor emeritus in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. His interest in dinosaurs was kindled early by visits to museums and by the books of Roy Chapman Andrews. Born in Oklahoma, he was educated at the University of Oklahoma and the University of California at Berkeley, receiving his Ph.D. there in 1952. In 1954, he succeeded The Grand Old Man of Canadian Dinosaurology, Charles M. Sternberg, as curator at Ottawa's Canadian Museum of Nature. In Canada, Langston's interests focused on the dinosaurs of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and Permian vertebrates of Prince Edward Island. Among his discoveries was a Pachyrhinosaurus bone bed in southern Alberta, which yielded several technical studies over ensuing years. Retired since 1986, he remains active in research at the Texas Memorial Museum's Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory in Austin.
Darren H. Tanke has been a senior fossil preparation technician at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, since 2005. From 1979 to 2005, Tanke worked with Philip J. Currie at the Provincial Museum of Alberta and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Tanke has authored or coauthored papers on various aspects of dinosaurs, such as ontogeny; dinosaur paleopathology; relocation of "lost" dinosaur quarries and identification of "mystery quarries"; and especially various human history aspects of Alberta's paleontological legacy. He was senior editor of Mesozoic Vertebrate Life: New Research Inspired by the Paleontology of Philip J. Currie (co-published by Indiana University Press, Bloomington, and NRC Research Press, Ottawa, 2001), and has appeared in the 1998 documentary film Dinosaur Park and the 1993 educational film on the Pipestone Creek Pachyrhinosaurus bone bed Messages in Stone.

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