Meaning: Edmonton lizard
Period: 73 to 65 Million Years, Late Cretaceous period
Discovered: North America; North Dakota, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, USA and Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada
Length: 42 feet
Weight: 4 tons
Diet: Plant eater
This giant plant eater filled a similar ecological role to deer and tortoises today. It belonged to a group of dinosaurs called hadrosaurs – also known as the duck-billed dinosaurs. Designed for cropping low plants, it had a large, broad beak similar to a goose’s beak. Unlike geese, there were 2,000 tightly packed teeth in its mouth to chew and grind up tough plant material.
Like other dinosaurs, Edmontosaurus reproduced by laying eggs. Paleontologists believe that these creatures laid their eggs in nests on high ground, in their swampy habitat – similar to an alligator. Similarly, the female probably looked after the nest.
Recently, a mummified Edmontosaurus was uncovered in Canada. It had a large fleshy crest on its head – like a rooster’s comb. This was an exciting discovery, as soft tissues rarely fossilize. What purpose the comb served is still a mystery!