Illustration for article titled Pachycephalosaurs were the kings of head butting

For decades there's been a long running debate in the paleontological community about whether the thick-skulled pachycephalosaurs used their immense noggins for head-butting, flank-butting, or peacock-like displays of awesomeness. A new research paper published in PLos One adds more weight to the head-butting side of the debate.

Researchers analyzed a skull from a Stegoceras validum, a type of pachycephalosaur, and compared it to the skulls of modern head-butting animals like duiker, elk, and musk oxes. Using CT scans and statistical analyses of the fossils, they found the dinosaur's skull was as well-suited to cracking heads as any of the modern mammals, if not more so. Not only is the bone in the skull arranged in such a way to minimize brain-harming impacts and dissipate strain, but the large neck muscles and dense cortical bones argue for animals ready to run into each other at full speed.

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