Several complete skeletons of Corythosaurus were found in North America, making it one of the best known members of the hadrosaurid family. This crested, duck-billed dinosaur wandered through the swamps and woodlands of the region 75 million years ago, perhaps in herds. Its crest may have been used as a trumpet to keep in touch with the herd.
Like most hadrosaurids, Corythosaurus lived in woodlands covering warm plains near the Rocky Mountains in North America. Its snout was smaller and more delicate than those of other hadrosaurids, suggesting a diet of tender leaves and juicy fruits.
Corythosaurus means “helmet lizard.” Scientists named it so because of the crest on its head, which reminded them of helmets worn by the soldiers of ancient Greece.
■ When: 76–74 million years ago (Late Cretaceous)
■ Fossil location: Canada, N. America
■ Habitat: Forests and swampy areas
■ Length: 30 ft (9 m)
■ Diet: Leaves, seeds, and pine needles
Corythosaurus was one of the larger hadrosaurids. Tall, bony spines on its back were covered with a frill of skin that formed a ridge running along its back. This frill was very prominent at the back of the head crest, where it was attached.
Corythosaurus’s crest may have worked like a trombone, amplifying sound to make loud, booming calls that carried a long way. Perhaps these served as warning signals to alert other herd members of predators lurking nearby.
Of the skeletons discovered, some had well-preserved impressions of skin. A few of these showed that Corythosaurus’s belly had strange, wartlike lumps.