8 Dinosaurs With Crests

Written by Emilio Brown
Published: May 18, 2022
© Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com
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Dinosaurs have a variety of looks and sizes. Feathers, horns, and wings are some traits that are common for dinosaurs, but one of the more rare features is a crest. The Lambeosaurine dinosaurs are beloved for having a crest on their head, but other types may also have this trait. The crest is a flashy trait and is theorized to have many uses. In this article, you will find 8 dinosaurs with crests, and how they are unique.

Dinosaurs roamed the earth for around 165 million years before their extinction. Birds are the dinosaurs we coexist with now, and also have species that show a crest on their head. Crests give dinosaurs a unique look and are a rare trait in the 700 dinosaurs we currently know about. Here are 8 dinosaurs with a crest and some interesting things about them.

1. Corythoraptor 

Cassowary Dinosaur - Extinct Dinosaur
Oviraptoridae dinosaurs like the Corythoraptor have a skull very similar to that of a cassowary

©Zhao Chuang / CC BY 4.0 – License

The Corythoraptor is a bird-like dinosaur that looks very similar to the modern cassowary bird. Found in China, Corythoraptors lived during the Cretaceous period, around 65 to 100 million years ago. A near-complete skeleton was found of this dinosaur, and a large crest is present on the top of its head. They have an ostrich-like frame, standing on two legs at around 5 ½ feet tall. 

Corythoraptors have a skull and mouth similar to a cassowary. They are omnivores like other similar dinosaurs and fed on whatever meat or plants they could find. Corythoraptors belong to the Oviraptoridae family and coexisted with 6 other members in its time. Their crest is one of the most similar to cassowaries when compared with other dinosaurs. Its crest was most likey used to show it was healthy, and as a way to attract a mate.

2. Dilophosaurus 

Dilophosaurus Theropod Dinosaur from The Early Jurassic Period
Discovered in 1940, the Dilphosaurus was one of the largest predators of its time when discovered.

©Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock.com

Dilophosaurus was a quick groups of dinosaurs and one of few carnivores with a crest on the head. The name of this genus means “two crested lizard”. The fossil of this species was found in Tuba City, Arizona. Dilophosaurs is a genus of Theropod dinosaurs that lived during the early Jurassic period. When alive, the Dilophosuarus was a large predator and one of the largest land animals in North America. They went extinct around 193 million years ago.

Dilophosaurs stood around 6 feet tall (1.8 meters), and were around 23 feet long (7 meters). At their heaviest, they weighed around 880 lbs (399 kgs), and were able to move at a fast speed of 20 mph (32 kilometers per hour). On top of this species, heads were two thin rounded crests, and they also had an elongated skull. The crest on their head was not for fighting as they were too fragile, but they could have been used for display. Walking on two legs, Dilophosaurus dinosaurs lived in small groups to hunt, and take down large prey. 

3. Chirostentotes 

Group of Chirostenotes
The Chirostentotes had a lengthy build, but its build was slender and allowed them to move quickly.

©Geofox/Shutterstock.com

Chirostentotes was first discovered in the early 1900s. This dinosaur is an Oviraptorosaurian dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period. Fossils of this species have been discovered from Mexico up to Canada, showing they inhabited North America. Around 26 different Chirostentotes fossils have been discovered.

This dinosaur stood around 4.9 feet tall (0.12 meters) and walked on two legs. They had a large bird-like beak, and on their head is a large crest. The beak of this species showed they were omnivores and were capable of eating meat and plants. This species varied greatly in size and weighed between 66 to 220 lbs (29.9 to 99.7 kg).

4. Monolophosaurus 

Monolophosaurus dinosaur
Monolophosaurus is a carnivorous Theropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic.

©YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock.com

The Monolophosaurus is a large Therapod species that lived during the Jurrasic era. This dinosaur became extinct around 160 million years ago, almost 100 years before the devastating asteroid hit. Monolophosaurus lived in what is now China, and only one specimen has been discovered. The fossil of this species was nearly complete and contained most of its essential structures. 

The Monolophosaurus gets its name from the single large crest on its snout. They stood at 16 feet tall (5 meters) and weighed around 1,000 lbs (453 kg). It is not known why this species had a large crest on its nose, but mating is a likely possibility. Like other Therapods, they were carnivores and walked upright on two legs.

5. Corythosaurus

3d rendered illustration of a corythosaurus
The name of the Corythosaurus is in reference to the crest on its head, which is said to have similarities to an ancient Greek helmet.

©SciePro/Shutterstock.com

The Corythosaurus is a genus of Hadrosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period. Two species of Corythosaurus existed, C. casuarius, and C. intermedius. Barnum Brown discovered this genus in the early 1900s. Now, this genus has around 20 fossils to show for it. Corythosaurus inhabited North America and is one of the most popular species of dinosaurs. They were herbivores and fed on the vegetation in the plains and marshland habitats they lived in.

With a length of around 30 feet (9.1 meters), this giant weighed between 6,800 to 11,000 lbs and is estimated to run up to 30 mph (48.2 kph). Corythosaurus also most likely lived in groups to increase their chance of survival. The crest of these dinosaurs is around 27 inches tall (70.8 cm), and they used it to communicate with other dinosaurs, and could possibly use their crest like a horn. One benefit of this dinosaur is the Corythosaurus has many nearly completed fossils, which also makes them easier to research. 

6. Lambeosaurus 

Living during the late Cretaceous period 76 to 74 million years ago, the Lambeosuaurs is a genus of dinosaur that inhabited what is now North America. The crest of the Lambeosuarus is one of its most identifiable traits. Its crest is ax-shaped, hollow and is much larger than its head. Some theories why Lambeosuasrus and other Hadrosauridae dinosaurs have crests include:

  • To regulate salt in the body
  • The crest possibly could have held air to allow the dinosaurs to traverse water, and trap air to use the air while underwater. 
  • The crest could have helped identify other Lambeosaurus from other crested dinosaurs.

7. Spinosaurus

Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Spinosaurus
Spinosaurus in the forest.

©Mercury Green/Shutterstock.com

The Spinosaurus dinosaurs lived 112 to 72 millions of years ago, during the Cretaceous era. The Spinosaurus lived in North America with other large ancient predators like the Tyrannosaurus. This dinosaur is a member of Theropod dinosaurs similar to the birds that are alive today.

The Spinosaurus stood at a giant Godzilla height of 59 feet (17.9 meters). Its skull alone grew to about 6 feet (1.75 meters), and had teeth that grew almost a foot in length. While this dinosaurs is known for the large sail on its back, a small crest is located above its nose. The Spinosaurus has a crest smaller than other crested dinosaurs, but has the largest head of any predatory dinosaur. Although they are large enough to take out most other species, their diet consisted of large fish like coelacnths and sharks.

8. Parasaurolophus 

parasaurolophus, a type of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur
Currently, the Parasaurolophus has the largest crest of any discovered dinosaur.

©Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com

The Parasaurolophus is a genus of dinosaurs whose name means “near crested lizards.” Three species of Parasaurolophus existed in the late Cretaceous era. These dinosaurs are herbivores and are most known for their large crest. The three Parasuarolophus species are P. walkeri, P. tubicen, and P. cyrtocrisatus.

The largest species of them all is P. tubicen, but they are all known for the large crest that appears out of their heads. It is estimated the Parasaurolophus weighed around 2.5 tonnes, and stood 31 feet tall. They had large heads that grew up to 5.3 feet long but no complete Parasaurolophus fossil has yet been found.

These large dinosaurs were herbivores, and feed on plants like leaves, twigs, and pine needles. They walked on all fours, and are known for the large crest atop their head. Intact crest fossils of these species are rare. Being so large the crest is believed to be a visual marker for other dinosaurs to identify them. Some paleontologists also theorize the large crest is beneficial in helping them amplify the sounds they made, as well as a way to breathe underwater.


The Featured Image

How Long Were Dinosaurs on Earth
A Spinosaurus on a cliff by the moon. Spinosaurus was a semi-aquatic dinosaur from the Cretaceous period. It was one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs.
© Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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