Eras of Life
 Dinosaur Evolution
 Feathered Dinosaurs
 Weird Dinosaurs
  Baryonyx walkerii
  Bonitasaura salgadoi
  Carnotaurus sastrei
  Centrosaurus apertus
  Ceratosaurus nasicornisi
  Corythosaurus casuarius
  Cryolophosaurus ellioti
  Dilophosaurus wertherelli
  Euoplocephalus tutus
  Giraffatitan brancai
  Gryposaurus notabilis
  Masiakasaurus knofleri
  Monolophosaurus jiangi
  Parasaurolophus walkeri
  Stygimoloch spinifer
  Styracosaurus albertensis
  Tarchia gigantea
  Troodon formosus
  Tsintaosaurus spinorhinus
 Prehistoric Sea Monsters

Cryolophosaurus ellioti (Hammer and Hickerson, 1994, 2003)

Cryolophosaurus ellioti dinosaur
Name Means: "Frozen Crested Lizard" Length: 20 ft. (6 m)
Pronounced: Cry-o-Lof-o-Saw-rus Weight: unknown
When it lived: Early Jurassic - 190 MYA    
Where found: Antarctica    
Cryolophosaurus is the first meat-eating dinosaur to be discovered on the frozen continent of Antarctica. It was an odd looking dinosaur, fairly large for such an early hunter. It had a bizarre crest running across its head, just over the eyes, where it rises up, perpendicular to the skull, and fans out. It is furrowed, making it look like a Spanish comb, used by women in their hair. The crest is actually an extension of the skull bones which lie near the tear ducts fused on either side to horns which rise from the eye sockets. While other theropods like the Monolophosaurus have crests, they usually run along the skull instead of across it.  Due to its resemblance to Elvis Presley's pompadour haircut in the 1950s, this dinosaur was quickly nicknamed the Elvisaurus. The crest is too fragile to be used in combat, so it was probably used in mating displays.
   It is an important discovery not only because of where it was found, but also because it shows features found on both early, less advance meat-eaters and later more advanced meat-eaters such as Allosaurus.  Cryolophosaurus was much smaller than the largest Allosaurus, which reached up to 12 meters (40 feet) in length.
    Cryolophosaurus was discovered in 1991 by paleontologist William R. Hammer and his team on Mount Kirkpatrick, the highest peak in the Queen Alexandra Range of the Transantarctic Mountains, and additional remains were excavated during a second expedition in 2003. They were located in the siltstone of the Falla Formation, and dated to the Pliensbachian age of the early Jurassic.  Hammer is a professor of geology and paleontology at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, and a curator at the Fryxell Geology Museum, where the holotype specimen currently resides.
    The remains include part of a skull (cranium), a jaw bone (mandible), parts of the backbone (30 vertebrae), hip bones (the illium, ischium, and pubis), leg bones (femur and fibula), an ankle bone (tibiotarsus), and foot bones (metatarsals). The skull was partially crushed by the Beardmore Glacier. At least the skull and jaw bone, and the foot bones, were found in their natural positions (articulated).  "Cryolophosaurus is of significance because it represents the oldest known tetanuran from any continent and it is the only one, from the Early Jurassic." said Hammer. The specimen was found in conjunction with a platter from the prosauropod which has led to speculation that it may have choked to death, though there is no concrete evidence of this one way or the other. 
    In December 2003, while Hammer and his colleagues were continuing excavation of the Cryolophosaurus ellioti specimen they found in 1991, their mountain safety guide stumbled upon a sauropod dinosaur. It may turn out to be the largest dinosaur ever found in Antarctica. It was shipped back to the U.S. for study.
    Dinosaur hunting in the polar regions is strenuous and expensive work, especially in Antarctica, where Hammer and his colleagues endure temperatures that regularly dip to -25 degrees Fahrenheit (-32 Celsius), live in tents, and melt ice for drinking water. "The sites are very inaccessible. We are 500 miles [800 kilometers] inland from the coast and about 400 miles [640 kilometers] from the geographic South Pole," Hammer said. "They are also at high altitude—the dino locality on Mount Kirkpatrick [where we found the sauropod] is at about 13,000 feet [4,000 meters]."
   The newly-discovered dinosaur was formally named and described in 1994 by Hammer and William J. Hickerson, in the journal Science. The name Cryolophosaurus was derived from the Greek kryos (meaning "cold" or "frozen"), lophos (meaning "crest") and sauros (meaning "lizard" or "reptile"). The name is a reference not to the extreme conditions faced by the excavation team, but to the relatively cool climate in which the dinosaur lived.
   When this dinosaur was roaming around on Antarctica, that island continent was a part of Pangaea and attached to Africa, South America and Australia in a much warmer part of the world. It is possible that Cryolophosaurus will be assigned to the ceratosaur family once further study is concluded. Little is known of this dinosaur due in part to the inhospitable environment where its remains were discovered. It is likely an important piece of the puzzle for theropod evolution, bridging both primitive and more advanced features.  


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