Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus: Who Would Win A Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: June 9, 2022
© Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com
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Many of the most interesting dinosaurs were the large, violent types like T-rex. We enjoy watching these unstoppable prehistoric forces tear their way through fictional parks and feast on others. In fact, we have even imagined how fictional dinosaurs, like Indominus rex, would fare against real ones. Yet, we should also turn our focus away from these carnivores from time to time and concentrate on interesting, mysterious herbivores. Today, we’re going to compare Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus and show you how they were different from one another. 

Comparing a Hadrosaurus and a Parasaurolophus

Hadrosaurus and Parasaurolophus are both herbivores.

©A-Z-Animals.com

Hadrosaurus Parasaurolophus
SizeWeight: 4,400-8800 lbs
Height: 8-10ft
Length: 23-26 ft
Weight: 4,000-5,600 lbs (possibly up to 8,000 lbs)
Height: 12-16ft
Length: 25-31ft
Morphology– Facultative biped that ran on two legs and walked on four
– Duckbills, elongated snouts, and toothless beaks
– Had cheek teeth to grind on food
– Possessed a relatively short crest on the top of its head
– Thick body relative to head and legs
– Much larger rear legs than forelegs
– Large cranial crest that arched over the back of the skull with many potential uses including identification, making sounds, and more
– Duck-billed dinosaur
– Both bipedal and quadrupedal – Smaller forelegs that could help the animal walk on
– Thick body
– Skin frill on its back  
Species– Hadrosaurus foulkiiParasaurolophus cyrtocristatus
– Parasaurolophus tubicen
– Parasaurolophus walkeri
LocationNorth AmericaNorth America and maybe China
Era84-70 million years ago76-74 million years ago

The Key Differences Between a Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus

Parasaurolophus exists now in fossils.

©Danny Ye/Shutterstock.com

The greatest differences between a Hadrosaurus and Parasaurolophus lie in their morphology, size, and the area in which they lived. The Hadrosaurus was a facultative biped with a duckbill, thick body, and a short crest that lived 70 million years ago in North America, and the Parasaurolophus was an herbivorous duck-billed dinosaur with a large cranial crest that arched over its head with a skin frill running down its back that lived 73 million years ago in North America and perhaps China.

These are pronounced differences between the two dinosaurs. Yet, we can go further in-depth with these differences to discover the unique qualities of these dinosaurs. 

Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus: Size

The Parasaurolophus was larger than the Hadrosaurus, but it may have weighed less. The Hadrosaurus weighed up to 8,800 lbs, grew up to 10 ft tall, and measured 26 ft long. The Parasaurolophus weighed up to 5,600 lbs or 8,000 lbs, measured 16 ft tall, and grew up to 31 ft long.

It’s important to mention that humans do not have many different complete fossils of these dinosaurs. Thus, it’s hard to say for certain how large they grew and how much they weighed. Interestingly, the Hadrosaurus was the first mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world, dating back to the 19th century.  

Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus: Morphology

The morphological differences between these two dinosaurs are the most significant ones between them. The Parasaurolophus stands out because of the large crest that it has on its head. This crest was several feet long and arched over the head of the dinosaur. Scientists have many ideas about its purpose.

Although it may have been a temperature regulating element of its anatomy, it was probably used for communicating with its species such as making sounds to warn of predators. The dinosaur also had a skin frill on its back, but it wasn’t very large and did not add to the dinosaur’s height in a significant way.

Both dinosaurs were duck-billed, and they were facultative bipeds that could run on two legs or move on four. However, some scientists think that the dinosaurs moved mostly on four legs as adults. Also, both the Hadrosaurus and the Parasaurolophus had unusually thick bodies relative to their head, neck, and legs.

The Hadrosaurus had cheek teeth to grind the plants it ate and also had much larger rear legs relative to its forelegs. This dinosaur also had a smaller crest than the Parasaurolophus, but it probably served the same purpose and was most likely not a snorkel.

Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus: Species

hadrosaurus
Only one species of Hadrosaurus existed.

©Bee_acg/Shutterstock.com

Only one species of Hadrosaurus existed and it was called Hadrosaurus foulkii. However, three Parasaurolophus species existed, and they were called Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus, Parasaurolophus tubicen, and Parasaurolophus walker.

Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus: Location

The Hadrosaurus lived in North America, and it has been found particularly in New Jersey.  However, the three species of the Parasaurolophus were more widespread. They were found in the eastern and western thirds of North America, especially Utah. Apparently, a species related to Parasaurolophus may have been discovered in China as well.

Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus: Era

Hadrosaurus lived from about 84 million years ago to 70 million years ago. Parasaurolophus lived from 76 to 74 million years ago. Neither creature was around during the extinction event that led to the end of the dinosaurs.

Hadrosaurus vs Parasaurolophus: Who Would Win in a Fight?

The most notable thing about the Parasaurolophus is its crest. This structure starts at the dinosaur’s nose, curves up the front of its skull and arches back over its head.
Parasaurolophus would win a fight against Hadrosaurus.

©YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock.com

The Parasaurolophus would win a fight against Hadrosaurus. The truth is that these two dinosaurs were both herbivores. The chances of them fighting were very slim, even if they had lived at the same time and areas. Simply put, size would be the deciding factor here because the creatures would probably have to bash each other to death with kicks, stomps, or headbutts.

The large Parasaurolophus skull combined with its height, length, and weight would give it enough power to overwhelm and potentially kill the other dinosaur. However, this is a tough fight to call. We don’t have an overwhelming amount of information about these dinosaurs, and they were not exactly carnivores.

Although some herbivores, like Triceratops, may have been poised to repel attacks with their horns, these two dinosaurs were not. They did not possess much aside from their size that would have given them an edge in a fight. With that in mind, we’re just going to call this fight based on size and potential weight, even though Hadrosaurus may have weighed more.


The Featured Image

parasaurolophus, a type of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur
A parasaurolophus, a type of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur of the hadrosaur family in profile stands in a forest of fir trees with a floor of ferns with rays of light shining down. 3D Rendering.
© Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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