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Dinosaur skeleton finally gets its skull back

A popular dinosaur skeleton that has been headless for nearly a century has been reconnected to its skull.

Researchers located a the Corythosaurus skull at the University of AlbertaIt had been collected in 1920 by George Sternberg, the university said.

“In the early days of dinosaur hunting and exploration, explorers only took impressive and exciting specimens for their collections, such as skulls, tail spines and claws,” explained graduate student Katherine Bramble, adding the practice was commonly referred to as head hunting. “Now, it’s common for paleontologists to come across specimens in the field without their skulls.”

The headless skeleton has been a tourist attraction in Dinosaur Provincial Park since the 1990s. Researchers found newspaper clippings  from the 1920s at the park and wondered whether the head at the University of Alberta could be a match to the headless skeleton.

“Using anatomical measurements of the skull and the skeleton, we conducted a statistical analysis,” Bramble explained. “Based on these results, we believed there was potential that the skull and this specimen belonged together.”

This discovery is part of a growing field of study in paleontology, Bramble added.

“Researchers are now trying to develop new ways of determining whether or not disparate parts of skeletons come from the same animal,” she said.. “For this paper, we used anatomical measurements, but there are many other ways of matching, such as conducting a chemical analysis of the rock in which the specimens are found.”

As scientists develop new methods for matching specimens, Bramble hopes more dinosaurs skeletons will be reunited as well.

By: David Staff Writer

Source: University of Alberta

Image Credit: Katherine Bramble

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