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Largest Skull of Land Vertebrate

Just a few notes on this skull. . . There is no way to be ABSOLUTELY 
certain that this is the largest skull. Most of the frill is missing, so 
it's based on guesswork. However, Torosaurus's claim to largest skull 
was also based on estimation until recently. I do hold Tom Lehman's size 
estimate to be good though. He's generally very careful and conservative 
with that kind of stuff. I have a feeling that Torosaurus may have some 
surprises though in the 'battle' for skull size supremacy.

Andy Farke

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 06:33:14 -0500
From: Thom Holmes <tholmes@dolphinsoft.com>
To: "'dinosaur message to list'" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Largest Skull of Land Vertebrate
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There was a short piece in the October 30 Science (V. 282, p 871) 
announcing a new record holder for the largest skull of any land 
vertebrate. The record was held by Torosaurus latus at the Yale, a 
long-frilled ceratopsian. The newest record-holder is also a 
Pentaceratops sternbergi, based on a new specimen just readied for 
by the Sam Nobel Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman, OK. The 
skull, including the 2-meter frill, is about 3.1 meters long. The 
is excerpted from the article by Constance Holden:

"The skull is at least 15% larger than the previous record-holder, a 
Torosaurus latus skull at Yale University's Peabody Museum, according to 
paleontologist Thomas M. Lehman of Texas Tech Univeristy in Lubbock, who 
published an article about it in this summer's Journal of 
Paleontology...The head is disproportionately large for its 
body, he adds.

"The specimen has an unusual history. The entire skeleton was dug up in 
Four Corners region of New Mexico in July 1941. But the skull, still 
embedded in its rock matrix, was left in storage in the museum ofr years 
becaue of the U.S. entry into Wordl War II and the shutdown of the 
scientists' funding source, the Works Progress Administration. In fact, 
nothing happened until 1995, when retired University of California, 
Berkeley, paleontologist D. E. Savage--a student on the original 
expedition--returned to Oklahoma to help design the new museum's 

--Thom Holmes
dinosaur author at large

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