By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer | October 22, 2013 07:00am ET
|The skeleton of “Joe” is the smallest, most complete and youngest Parasaurolophus ever found.
Credit: Copyright Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.
A dinosaur skeleton discovered by an eagle-eyed high-school student turns out to be the smallest, youngest and most complete duck-billed dinosaur of its kind ever found.
This Cretaceous-era herbivore, Parasaurolophus, walked the Earth some 75 million years ago. The dinosaurs in this genus are best known for their impressive tube-shaped head crests, which may have been used for display or perhaps to amplify the animals’ calls. The little specimen, dubbed “Joe,” was so young that its crest was a mere bump on its head.
“We now understand a lot more about how Parasaurolophus grew its crest,” said Andrew Farke, a paleontologist and curator at Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, Calif. [See Photos of the Baby Dinosaur Discovery]