Dracorex (Dragon king)
Bakker, Sullivan, Porter, Larson and Saulsbury - 2006
Estimated 4 meters long
Late Cretaceous, 66 million years ago
Dracorex, meaning “dragon king,” is a genus of dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 66 million years ago, in what is now North America.
Dracorex was a small to medium-sized pachycephalosaur dinosaur, which was a group of bipedal dinosaurs known for their thick, bony skulls. It had a distinctive, ornamented skull that was covered in bumps, knobs, and spikes, giving it a dragon-like appearance.
Despite its impressive skull, Dracorex was likely a herbivore, feeding on a variety of vegetation, such as ferns, leaves, and fruits. It had a small body, with a short snout and narrow jaws, and its teeth were adapted for slicing and crushing plant material.
The discovery of Dracorex was particularly significant because it provided important insights into the evolution of pachycephalosaurs. Its unique features suggested that different species of pachycephalosaurs may have evolved independently and multiple times, rather than being part of a linear evolutionary sequence.
However, subsequent research has suggested that Dracorex may not be a distinct genus, but rather a juvenile form of another pachycephalosaur dinosaur, such as Pachycephalosaurus or Stygimoloch.
Regardless of its taxonomic classification, Dracorex remains a fascinating and iconic dinosaur, and its discovery has helped to advance our understanding of the diversity and evolution of these intriguing creatures.