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Categories: PachycephalosauriaHerbivoreUSALate Cretaceous

Pachycephalosauria STYGIMOLOCH

Pronunciation: STIJ-i-MOL-ok
Meaning: Styx demon
Authors: Galton and Sues (1983)
Synonyms: None known
First discovery: Montana, Montana
Roar factor: 2/10

Stygimoloch spinifer

With a name that roughly translates as "horned demon from the river of death" you could be forgiven for expecting a demeanor to match, and the fact it was unearthed in Hell Creek only adds to the anticipation. We know you want us to tell you that Stygimoloch were merciless carnivores cutting a swathe through landscapes full of poor defenseless herbivores but, the truth is, they were probably just as poor and defenseless themselves.

At a mere three meters long and 2-to-300 pounds Stygimoloch wasn't big enough to do any real damage and their bony domed skulls, although adorned with large, low-angled and nasty-looking horns and clusters of smaller bony nodes were neither tough enough or the ideal shape for ritual head-butting. However, multiple nasal protrusions would certainly increase pain-factor during bouts of flank-butting for the right to bang uglies with the tribes most desirable females. This is the way pachycephalosaurids did things, and we say "bring it on!"

Despite the recent trend of "Pachy-lumping" and certain paleontologist's insistance that Stygimoloch is merely the troubled-teenage version of Pachycephalosaurus, we cling to a thread-like hope that future discoveries will reveal somekind of deep dark secret befitting of Stygimoloch's almost eerily-grinning skull but, until then, will sate our lust for violent dinosaurs with thoughts of Stygimoloch mercilessly pulling leaves from innocent little trees. Rrraaagghhhh.
Stygimoloch: from the Greek "Styx" (the mythical river over which Charon would ferry shades to Hades) and the Hebrew "moloch" (demon or horrid king).
The species epithet, spinfer: from the Latin "spina" (thorn) and "fero" (to bear).
The first fossils of Stygimoloch were recovered from Montana's Hell Creek Formation, U.S.A. The holotype (UCMP 119433), discovered in 1983, is a partial skull (left squasmosal). Part of the right squamosal (YPM 335) from Wyoming's Lance Formation was later referred.
Era: Mesozoic
Period: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age: 71-66 million years ago
Vital Stats:
Est. Max. Length: 3 meters
Est. Max. Height: 1.2 meters
Est. Max. Weight: 200 kg
Diet: Herbivorous
• P. M. Galton and H.-D. Sues (1983) " New data on pachycephalosaurid dinosaurs (Reptilia: Ornithischia) from North America".
• M. B. Goodwin, E. A. Buccholtz and R. E. Johnson (1998) "Cranial anatomy and diagnosis of Stygimoloch spinifer (Ornithischia: Pachycephalosauria) with comments on cranial display structures in agonistic behavior".
• Erik Stokstad (November 2007) Society of vertebrate paleontology meeting: "Did Horny Young Dinosaurs Cause Illusion of Separate Species?"
• J.R. Horner and M.B. Goodwin (2009) "Extreme cranial ontogeny in the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Pachycephalosaurus".
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(DinoChecker) "STYGIMOLOCH :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 10th Oct 2015.