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Pachycephalosaurus Cranial Pathologies in PLoS ONE

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Peterson, J.E. & Vittore, C.P. (2012)
Cranial Pathologies in a Specimen of Pachycephalosaurus.
PLoS ONE 7(4): e36227.


A frontoparietal dome of a large pachycephalosaurid collected from the
Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation in 2001 is identified as
Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis. The specimen features two large oval
depressions on the dorsal surface, accompanied by numerous circular
pits on the margin and inner surface of the larger depressions.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In order to identify the origin of these structures, computed
tomography (CT) data and morphological characteristics of the specimen
are analyzed and compared with similar osteological structures in
fossil and extant archosaurs caused by taphonomic processes,
non-pathologic bone resorption, and traumatic infection/inflammatory
origins. The results of these analyses suggest that the structures are
pathologic lesions likely resulting from a traumatic injury and
followed by secondary infection at the site.


The presence of lesions on a frontoparietal dome, and the exclusivity
of their distribution along the dorsal dome surface, offers further
insight into frontoparietal dome function and supports previously
hypothesized agonistic behavior in pachycephalosaurids.