Parasaurolophus was an interesting-looking dinosaur. While it looked normal from the neck down, it looked almost as if it had a trombone on its head. And in a way, it did.
Parasaurolophus is one of many hadrosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of North America. Its name, which means "near crested lizard," refers to the resemblance of the crests of its close cousin Saurolophus. However, the crest of Saurolophus was solid bone and the crest of Parasaurolophus was hollow. The hollow space wiithin the crest of Parasaurolophus reached the nostrils and looped down to connect to the back of the throat. This crest was the animal's nasal cavity moved on top of its head.
This crest, seen also in other lambeosaurid hadrosaurs, has attracted much attention. At first, paleontologists thought this crest was used underwater, perhaps as a snorkel or a place to store extra air. Other suggestions included extra space to increase the animal's sense of smell or an an area used to cool its brain. The function of the crest is now thought to relate to hadrosaur social behavior. Because of their size and shape, crests could have been for display. They may have helped other members of its species identify the animal, and the crest may have shown how old the animal was and its gender.
Also, because it would have made a resonating chamber. Sounds would have been made by a vocal organ or voice box and "pushed" through the crest, making a deep honking call. In this way, the animal could have communicated. All lambeosaurines would have used their "voices" to announce themselves, to warn their hatchlings, and to challenge other animals that invaded their territory.
In the Media
Parasaurolophus is a very popular dinosaur. It was in the movie Disney's Dinosaur as a herd member. It also made several appearances in the famous documentary Clash of the Dinosaurs. It also appeared in the popular TV show Prehistoric Park, where it became the prey of large carnivores Deinosuchus and Albertosaurus. It made a few appearances in the Jurassic Park films, as a herd member in the first movie, then being held captive by hunters in the second and running along with Corythosaurus in the third. and the character Dweeb in "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story," is a Parasaurolophus himself.
Parasaurolophus also appears in Turok, as a docile plant eater that is normally not harmful, but can be aggressive if severely provoked.
There is also a Parasaurolophus zord in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder and Power Rangers: Dino Charge.
Parasaurolophus is set to appear in the upcoming Disney Pixar film The Good Dinosaur.