DINOSAURS OF ANTARCTICA – MEET CRYOLOPHOSAURUS
Time Period: Early Jurassic ~ 190 Million Years Ago
Location: Prehistoric Antarctica (South Polar Gondwana)
This Antarctic meat-eating dinosaur was discovered in 1990 in the remote exposed rock of the Transantarctic Mountains. It took over two decades and multiple expeditions to remove the huge predator’s remains from the frozen crags of Mount Kirkpatrick. Its name means “frozen crested lizard” due to the distinctive head crown and its ability to survive the chilly, 3 months of darkness in prehistoric Antarctica. This 25-foot South Pole hunter turned out to be the largest known Early Jurassic carnivore on earth.
Scientists can only speculate about the head crest’s purpose but suspect it may have been used to signal rivals or attract and recognize a mate, similar to the cassowary in Australia today – a distant avian relative of the once-dominant theropod dinosaurs like Cryolophosaurus and T. rex.
In fact, all birds evolved from a lineage of theropods. So while dinosaurs were long gone before Antarctica’s continental freeze, some of their – less ferocious – relatives still call Antarctica home…
See Cryolophosaurus and other prehistoric south polar giants in DINOSAURS OF ANTARCTICA.
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