A new baby Parasaurolophus dinosaur sheds light on their growth and ecology

Life reconstruction of the new baby dinosaur by Lukas Panzarin. Photograph: /Andy Farke

Despite the fact that they were likely very numerous indeed, baby dinosaurs are actually extremely rare to find as a fossil and so any new discovery is to be welcomed. There are some inherent biases in the fossil record such that some things tend to preserve more often than you would expect by chance and others are much more rare. One of the major biases is against young vertebrate animals since being small they are harder to find, and as they are still growing their bones contain more cartilage and so are less likely to preserve well.

The new baby dinosaur described today belongs to the genus Parasaurolophus a member of the group called the hadrosaurs (often known as duck-billed dinosaurs) and is in beautiful condition and in particular has a very well preserved skull. The kinds of details that such specimens can bring to questions of growth and development are most important for understanding dinosaur ecology and this baby, which clocks in at less than 6 feet (around 1.8 m) in total length, has a lot to tell us.

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