Infraorder of reptiles (fossil)

The Pachycephalosaurs are a group of ornithopod dinosaurs in the suborder Cerapoda. Their thick round skulls were used for defence and, probably, for mating contests.

Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 90–66 Ma
Pachycephalosaurus skull.JPG
Cast of a Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis skull, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Pachycephalosauria
Maryańska & Osmólska, 1974
Family: Pachycephalosauridae
Sternberg, 1945
(conserved name)
Type species
Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis
Gilmore, 1931 (conserved name)

See text

Skeletal mount of Pachycephalosaurus

In some species, the skull roof is domed and several inches thick; in others it is flat or wedge-shaped.The flat-headed pachycephalosaurs are usually regarded as distinct species or even families, but they may be juveniles of dome-headed adults.[1][2] The domes were often surrounded by nodes and/or spikes.

There is evidence of head-butting in pachycephalosaurs. Of 100 domes studied, 20 percent showed signs of healed injuries, all consistent with combative behavior. The pathologies included pitting where the bone had become infected from wounds that originated in the skin. These findings suggest that pachycephalosaurids may have been using their heads for both display and defence as many modern animals do.[3][4]


Family PachycephalosauridaeEdit

Tribe PachycephalosauriniEdit


  1. Sullivan R.M. 2006. A taxonomic review of the Pachycephalosauridae (Dinosauria: Ornithischia). New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 30 (35): 347–365.
  2. Longrich N.R; Sankey J. & Tanke D. 2010. Texacephale langstoni, a new genus of pachycephalosaurid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the upper Campanian Aguja Formation, southern Texas, USA. Cretaceous Research 31 (2): 274.
  3. Maryańska, Teresa; Chapman, Ralph E. & Weishampel, David B. 2004. Pachycephalosauria. In Weishampel, David B; Dodson, Peter & Osmólska, Halszka (eds) The Dinosauria. 2nd ed, Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 464–477. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  4. NBC News: "Boneheaded dinosaurs butted heads"
Stigimoloch skull at Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin