Hypacrosaurus Vertebra - 2.46" Fossil with Stand
Hypacrosaurus Vertebra - 2.46" Fossil with Stand
Hypacrosaurus was a large Ornithischian dinosaur from the Cretaceous Period. Related to Iguanodons, they are known primarily for their "duck-bills" which are in fact elongated rostral bone structures that give the appearance of a beak, but actually housed hundreds of small teeth that allowed these giant herbivores to grind through all manner of plant material, including rotten wood.
This specimen is a 2.46" Hypacrosaurus Vertebra recovered from private land on the Two Medicine Formation in Montana. It is estimated to be over 75,000,000 years old and comes with a display stand and certificate of authenticity.
📸 An artist's depiction of the Hypacrosaurus
The Duck-Billed Dinosaurs
With a beak-like skull structure to grind berries and twigs, Hypacrosaurus was a very unique looking dinosaur. As a descendant of the Iguanodon, it had long and tough forefingers that appeared almost as hooves, letting it move quickly over the Cretaceous landscape.
Hypacrosaurus belonged to the larger group of dinosaurs called Hadrosaurs. These herbivores were an important part of the Mesozoic ecosystem and fossils of Hypacrosaurus can be found across North America.
📸 An example vertebra from the Hypacrosaurus
This specimen is a fossilized vertebra belonging to Hypacrosaurus stebingeri. It was recovered from private land on the Two Medicine Formation in Montana and is over 74 million years old.
Each of these fossils is a unique piece of a prehistoric dinosaur. They are shipped in a sturdy packing carton along with a display stand and certificate of authenticity. It's the perfect addition to any paleontologist's collection!
Several Hypacrosaurus and other Hadrosaur vertabra fossils are available in the shop and are sold separately by size. You can see them all in the collection below. We have a smaller display case sized specimen of Hadrosaur Bone available as well.
MORE ABOUT Hypacrosaurus and Hadrosaurs
"Hadrosaurs grew rapidly, and quantifying their growth is key to understanding life-history interactions between predators and prey during the Late Cretaceous." ~ Lisa Noelle Cooper, "Relative growth rates of predator and prey dinosaurs reflect effects of predation."
📸 Hadrosaur Evolutionary PAths
The Dinosaur Family Tree
Evolution is inherently fractal, primed to spawn off divergent species specifically adapted to their own environments. Among dinosaurs, there are at least one thousand distinct species, each molded by their surroundings to be best suited for their own survival.
For example, consider Hadrosauridae. Hadrosauridae was a large family of Ornithischian dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period. They had a global distribution and there is significant evidence of migratory behavior in many species, with exception of those at the poles which typically remained in place year round.
📸 Incomplete cranium of Edmontosaurus regalis, dorsal and lateral views - Xing, Mallon, Currie (2017)
Amongst the vast umbrella of Hadrosauridea are dozens of branching species that maintain certain basic characteristics. Descendants of the Iguanodons, Hadrosaurs did not have the specialized first digit on their forelimbs. The three middle fingers were all tipped with hooves, for support, resulting in a largely quadruped animal.
The Hadrosaurs are known primarily for their "duck-bills." This beak-like structure was in fact an elongated rostral bone housing hundreds of small teeth, that allowed these giant herbivores to grind through all manner of plant material, including twigs, berries, coarse plant matter, and even rotten wood.
Studies of bone density have shown that these voracious eaters continued to grow throughout their lives, as did other dinosaurs. However, they grew faster and reached maturity sooner than predatory species, suggesting a possible survival strategy to outgrow their predators.
The Hypacrosaurus Branch
This specimen is a sample of Hypacrosaurus stebingeri from the Two Medicine Formation, a striking member of the cranial crest-bearing Lambeosaurine Hadrosaurs. They typically topped out at 9 m (30 ft) in length, just shy of a full grown Tyrannosaurus rex. But unlike the fearsome theropod, Hypacrosaurus reached maturity in just 10 years whereas the Tyrant Lizard took nearly three times as long to reach that size.
This quick maturation rate provided an obvious evolutionary advantage: since the Hypacrosaurus grew to its full size faster, it could better defend itself from predation. Unlike some species of dinosaurs, we have a clearer understanding of Hypacrosaurus’ life cycle, owing to an abundance of fossilized eggs that have been recovered.
A Nuturing Dinosaur
While Hypacrosaurus grew fast after they hatched, they had an unusually long incubation period, about 171 days. During this time the Hypacrosaurus mother would cover her eggs in vegetation to provide warmth. Evidence suggests that baby Hypacrosurus bones were fragile enough that they could not walk easily, relying on their mothers to feed them after hatching.
This is no trivial behavior, it demonstrates dinosaurs' capacity to be nurturing, cooperative animals, something that wasn’t always accepted within the field. It was on the similar Hadrosaurid Maiasura that paleontologist Jack Horner first suggested this hypothesis, breaking the consensus that dinosaurs were hyper-individualistic and uncooperative.
Often in paleontology, researchers face a problem in examining fossils. Fossils are usually the remains of animals that died suddenly, before they’d reached full maturation. This can be a limiting factor, hampering our understanding of how that species of dinosaur lived at its full size. But in the case of Hypacrosaurus, the abundance of fossilized eggs, dinosaurs that were never even born, has provided an invaluable insight into the life cycle of these massive herbivores.
Lee, Scott A. “Embryonic Metabolism of the Ornithischian Dinosaurs Protoceratops Andrewsi and Hypacrosaurus Stebingeri and Implications for Calculations of Dinosaur Egg Incubation Times.” Physical review. E 95.4-1 (2017): 042407–042407. Web.
McDonald, Kim A. “The Iconoclastic Fossil Hunter. (John R. Horner, Paleontologist at Montana State University’s Museum of the Rockies).” The Chronicle of Higher Education 41.12 (1994): A8–. Print.
Eberth, David A., David C. Evans, and Patricia E. Ralrick. Hadrosaurs. Ed. David A. Eberth and David C. (David Christopher) Evans. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015. Print.
Norell, Mark. The World of Dinosaurs: An Illustrated Tour. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2019. Web.
Xing, Hai, Jordan C Mallon, and Margaret L Currie. “Supplementary Cranial Description of the Types of Edmontosaurus Regalis (Ornithischia: Hadrosauridae), with Comments on the Phylogenetics and Biogeography of Hadrosaurinae.” PloS one 12.4 (2017): e0175253–e0175253. Web.