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Texacephale (Nicholas Longrich)


Texacephale (Greek for "Texas head"); pronounced TEX-ah-SEFF-ah-lee


Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (80-70 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 5 feet long and 50 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large, thick skull with distinctive grooves


About Texacephale:

Texacephale ("Texas head") is the latest example of the odd breed of dinosaurs known as pachycephalosaurs, or "thick-headed lizards"--males of which head-butted each other for dominance within the herd and the right to mate with females. What set Texacephale apart from other pachycephalosaurs is that, in addition to its three-inch-thick noggin, it had characteristic creases along the sides of its skull, which seem to have evolved for the sole purpose of shock absorption. If confirmed, this would eliminate one objection some paleontologists have had to the "head-butting" theory, which is that two male pachycephalosaurs would be likely to knock each other unconscious when they butted heads at high speeds!

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