Duck-billed dinosaurs had fleshy ‘rooster-like cock comb’

London, Dec. 13: A rare, mummified specimen of the duck-billed dinosaur, Edmontosauraus regalis, has shown for the first time that those dinosaurs’ heads were adorned with a fleshy comb, most similar to the roosters’ red crest.

The most common dinosaurs in North America between 75 and 65 million years ago, duck-billed dinosaurs were gentle giants, about 12 meters long, and filled the same ecological role that kangaroos or deer play today. But no one had suspected that they- or other dinosaurs, for that matter- had fleshy structures on the tops of their heads.

“Until now, there has been no evidence for bizarre soft-tissue display structures among dinosaurs; these findings dramatically alter our perception of the appearance and behaviour of this well-known dinosaur and allow us to comment on the evolution of head crests in this group,” Phil Bell from Australia’s University of New England said.

The dinosaur specimen in question was found in deposits west of the city of Grande Prairie in west-central Alberta, Canada.

Bell explained that an elephant’s trunk or a rooster’s crest might never fossilize because there’s no bone in them. This is equivalent to discovering for the first time that elephants had trunks.

“We have lots of skulls of Edmontosaurus, but there are no clues on them that suggest they might have had a big fleshy crest. There’s no reason that other strange fleshy structures couldn’t have been present on a whole range of other dinosaurs, including T. rex or Triceratops,” Bell said.

Of course, it’s hard to tell what that cocks comb might have done for the duck-billed dinosaurs. In roosters and some other birds, bright red crests are a way to get the girls.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology. (ANI)