Saurolophus is a genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period. It's fossils have been found in North America and Mongolia.
They were plant eaters and could move on two or four feet, though their rear feet were longer than their arms. There is speculation that their spike was attached to a flap of skin that covered the nostrils and could be blown up for displays and noise-making.
Barnum Brown, who described the first specimens, put it in its own subfamily in "Trachodontidae" (=Hadrosauridae), the Saurolophinae. At the time, this also featured Corythosaurus and Hypacrosaurus, the only well-known examples of what would become Lambeosaurinae. Brown thought that Saurolophus had an enlarged tip to the ischium in the hip, as dinosaurs now seen as lambeosaurines had, but this seems to have been based on a wrongly associated lambeosaurine ischium. Also, he confused the crests of Saurolophus and lambeosaurines as being made of the same bones.
Most publications before 2010 classified Saurolophus as a member of Hadrosaurinae, often known colloquially as the "flat-headed hadrosaurs". In 2010, the subfamily Saurolophinae was brought back to use since Hadrosaurus seem sto have branched off prior to the "hadrosaurine"–lambeosaurine split. As a result, Hadrosaurinae by definition can't include the traditional "hadrosaurines". Saurolophinae is the oldest available name for the former "hadrosaurine" clade. Saurolophus, as the name suggests, is a saurolophine, as it has a saurolophine pelvis and a (largely) solid crest.
Saurolophus in The Land Before Time
Saurolophus is a very prominently-featured genus in The Land Before Time films and television series. The characters in the series use a number of terms to describe the species, including "Duck-bill" (which is in fact a real-world slang term associated with many hadrosaurid dinosaurs), "swimmer" (due to the characters' abilities to swim) and "big mouth". The main character Ducky, her parents, and her biological siblings are all identified as Saurolophus in the Land Before Time Sing-Along Songs video, and in some concept art for the original movie. However, on the official Land Before Time website, and on many pieces of merchandise, she is labelled as a Parasaurolophus. The characters are more congruent in appearance to Saurolophus, due to the shortness and upwards angle of their crests, but due different claims by various official sources (due to lack of paleontological knowledge), there has been much dispute over her species. The color scheme of Saurolophus in The Land Before Time are quite simple and are pretty similar to that of Longnecks. As hatchlings they sport different shades of green and have either a brownish or greenish band of diamond-shaped blotches; when they've reached to adulthood the youngsters loose their blotches and have a simple uniform color. They are sexually dimorphic to an extent, mature females are dull brown or tan in appearance, and mature males are a bright-greenish blue color.
- Brown, Barnum (1914)."Corythosaurus casuarius, a new crested dinosaur from the Belly River Cretaceous, with provisional classification of the family Trachodontidae". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 33 (55): 559–564. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
- Sternberg, Charles M. (1954). "Classification of American duckbilled dinosaurs". Journal of Paleontology 28 (3): 382–383.
- Prieto-Márquez, Alberto (2010). "Global phylogeny of Hadrosauridae (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) using parsimony and Bayesian methods". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 159 (2): 435–502.
- Official Land Before Time website.