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 You are here: Social Behaviour > Communications

Although communications is a vital aspect of social behaviour, not much is known about the dinosaurian communications. Hadrosaurs and their relatives must be the focused on this topic, as much more is known about their communications compared to other dinosaurs.

Undoubtedly, the most striking feature of the hadrosaur is their cranial crest, which involves the nasal cavity, which was originally thought to have been related to the olfactory or the aquatic mode of life. However, in 1975, J.A. Hopson came up with new radical hypothesis relating the cranial crest as visual as well as acoustical display organs. To support this theory, Hopson tested for five predictions; i) hadrosaurs had well-developed eyes and ears; ii) external features of crests varied independently of internal structure; iii) crest variations were species-specific and sexually dimorphic; iv) crest distinctiveness correlates with species diversity; v) crest size tended to increase through time. Validated by these corresponding evidences, Hopson concluded that the cranial crests in the hadrosaurs aided in intra as well as inter-specific differentiation, that is, differentiating between different species of hadrosaurs, as well as possibly separation within the species, such as but not limited to, intraspecific combat (mainly for mates), ritualized display, courtship, parent-offspring communication and social ranking. Such behaviour, if true, is comaparable to many modern mammalian and avian social behaviours (such as in many penguins), illustrating the complexity of the hadrosaurian social structure.


Fastovsky, D.E. & Weishampel, D.B. (2005). The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs(2nd Ed.), Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.
Hopson, J.A. The evolution of cranial display structures in hadrosaurian dinosaurs, Paleobiology 1, 21-43 (1975)
Weishampel, D.B., Dodson, P., Osmolska, H. (2004).The Dinosauria (Ed.), University of California Press: California, US.



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