EXPLORATORY EVALUATION OF ABNORMAL EROSIVE STRUCTURES IN PACHYCEPHALOSAURID CRANIA
To establish a quantified evaluation of frontoparietal abnormalities, pachycephalosaur domes from the vertebrate paleontology collections at the Burpee Museum of Natural History (BMRP) in Rockford, IL, University of Alberta (ALVP) in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Tyrell Museum of Paleontology (TMP) in Drumheller, Alberta were compared and recorded for any abnormal surface feature, regardless of cause. A classification of lesions was constructed, composed of five categories based on depth, width, and morphology of the feature. A total of 16 specimens were observed for this preliminary comparison, and the BMRP specimen was also CT-scanned to observe internal characteristics associated with erosive cranial structures.
The preliminary results of this study indicate a similar assemblage of abnormal surface features on frontoparietal domes present throughout the pachycephalosaur clade. The similarity of these features suggests a potential suite of common etiologies resulting in erosive pitting on the dorsal surface of pachycephalosaur domes. Future evaluations of frontoparietal dome taphonomy will likely bring better understanding of the potential etiologies of abnormal surface features on pachycephalosaurid crania, and will contribute to investigations regarding the function of frontoparietal domes.