Top 10 Dinosaurs with Head Crests That Are Fun to Know

Giant theropod dinosaurs often catch our attention because of their giant mouths and teeth. Still, back in the Mesozoic era, many were turning heads with the ornamentation on top of their skulls. We don’t know if the outer appearance of these crests, spikes, and knobs looked like basic keratin, like moose antlers, or were covered in colorful flesh, similar to a rooster’s comb, but they were apparently attractive in some way to large predators.

Let’s find out the top 10 Dinosaurs with Head Crests

1. Pterosaur

The incredible diversity of pterosaurs is perhaps best expressed in one of the prehistoric flying reptile’s most intriguing and mysterious features: the head crest.

For instance, some pterosaurs had big, bony crests, while other crests were fleshy with no underlying bone. Some pterosaurs even appear to have had a saillike crest made up of a membrane sheet connecting two large bones on the head. “We now know that pterosaur crests had all kinds of [bone and flesh] combinations,” Hone told Live Science.

Diversity of pterosaurs

Over the years, scientists have proposed many possible purposes for these crests, including that they were used for heat regulation or to serve as rudders during flight. “But almost all of the hypotheses have failed the most basic tests,” Hone said.
What seems most likely is that the crests were used for sexual selection, Hone and his colleagues argued in a 2011 study in the journal Lethaia(opens in new tab).
There are several lines of evidence that support this function of the crests, Hone explained, perhaps most notably that juveniles, which look like miniature versions of adult pterosaurs, don’t have crests, suggesting the structures are used for something that is only relevant to adults, such as mating.


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2. Dilophosaurus: Two-Crested Dinosaur

The most distinctive (real) feature of the Dilophosaurus is the paired crests atop its skull, the function of which remains a mystery. Most likely, these crests were a sexually selected characteristic (that is, males with prominent crests were more attractive to females during mating season, helping to propagate this trait) or they helped members of the pack recognize each other from afar, assuming that the Dilophosaurus hunted or traveled in packs.

Dilophosaurus skull



animatronic dinosaur Dilophosaurus (2)

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3. Lambeosaurus

Lambeosaurus was a crested, duck-billed dinosaur. Its forward-leaning, hollow, bony crest was as big or bigger than the rest of its skull and may have been used to produce sounds, enhance its sense of smell, and/or used in courtship displays. Lambeosaurus’ nostrils went up through the crest. Its snout was narrow and ended in a beak that was wide and blunt. Males may have had larger crests than females.

Lambeosaurus skull


Lambeosaurus grew to be about 30-50 feet long (9-15 m), weighing 5.6 tons. It is the largest-known duck-bill dinosaur.

The most distinctive feature of Lambeosaurus was the oddly shaped crest on this dinosaur’s head, which looked like an upside-down hatchet—the “blade” sticking out from its forehead, and the “handle” jutting out over the back of its neck. This hatchet differed in shape between the two named Lambeosaurus species, and it was more prominent in males than it was in females.


4. Parasaurolophus

This dinosaur had a large crest on its head. On adult males, this could be as long as 1.8 meters (6 feet) – which is as big as a man!

Parasaurolophus skull

Parasaurolophus Skull 3

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Scientists think they may have used their crest to make a trumpeting sound that they used to talk to each other. This video will let you hear what scientists think they may have sounded like.

They were 10 meters (33 feet) in length and weighed 3.5 tons. Their huge head crest could grow to 1.8 meters long.


Animatronic Parasaurolophus 3

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5. Saurolophus

It had a beak like that of a duck and a crest that was not indifferent at all, roughly that was the Saurolophus; Without a doubt a very interesting dinosaur, not being more we will discover everything about this dinosaur.

It had a concave bone crest 13 centimeters long in its skull, pointing backward. This ridge was formed by the nasal bones and crossed by the nostrils.
Therefore, it was hypothesized that some of the nasal tissue could have been inflatable and allowed the animals to make sounds.

Saurolophus skull


The tip of the lower toothless beak was slightly curved upwards. For grinding plant food, it had hundreds of molars.
Saurolophus’ hind legs were clearly longer and stronger than their front legs. In addition, it was able to move on two and four legs.


6. Oviraptor

The first oviraptor to be discovered had a crushed skull and was lying on a nest of fossilized dinosaur eggs. The eggs belonged to an herbivore called Protoceratops. At the time of its death, the oviraptosaur was probably trying to steal the eggs to eat, and since its skull was crushed, it may have been caught and killed by an adult Protoceratops. Oviraptosaurs probably also ate berries and insects, as well as scavenging on the carcasses of dead animals.

oviraptorid skull

Head crests Different oviraptosaurs had differently shaped crests. A modern bird, the cassowary, has a crest to butt its way through the forest undergrowth. Perhaps oviraptosaurs used their crest for a similar purpose.


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7. Olorotitan

The large hatchet-like hollow crest dinosaur Olorotitan was a hadrosaurid.
This Lambeosaurine-related hadrosaurid was 26 ft (8 m) in length, and the Olorotitan discovery of its fossils made clear that they had a hatched skull and a long tail just like most hadrosaurids.

Olorotitan skull

Olorotitan had a distinctive head crest that rose up from the top and back of the skull and pointed backwards in what has been called a hatchet shape. The crests on lambeosaurine hadrosaurids are thought to have served a similar purpose as the horns and frills of ceratopsian dinosaurs in that they would allow an individual to recognize others of its own species from similar dinosaurs as well as being colored to reveal the vitality of the individual. However it is also possible that the hollow structure of the crest may have acted as a resonating chamber to affect the sound of its calls.


8. Tsintaosaurus

Tsintaosaurus is yet another addition to the Lambeosaur family’s list of controversies: discovered in 1958 in China, the fossil had an unwieldy bone sticking out from an odd angle. This was dismissed as being a sliver of the skull that had been moved out of place at some stage during its fossilization.

tsintaosaurus skull

Its bill, so characteristic of the hadrosaurs, was thin in comparison to other dinosaurs, it had a body very similar to the likes of Parasaurolophus, a well-known member of the Lambeosaur family. Of the scientists who argue that Tsintaosaurus did have a horn-like crest, these are divided into smaller groups who argue about the purpose of the crest. The one favourable theory is that the crests were highly coloured & were used for identification concerning gender within the herd or status. It may have flushed with blood when the dinosaur was confronted or scared. Another is that the crest, being hollow, was used to make loud sounds by amplifying air blown through from the throat.


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9. Corythosaurus

Corythosaurus is a member of the planting-eating, duck-billed dinosaur family that is sometimes referred to as hadrosaurs. It had a toothless, wide beak and hundreds of teeth in the back part of its mouth that it used for grinding tough plants to mush. Like other duckbills, it was a herd animal that traveled in large groups. Fossils of this dinosaur are sometimes found together with other plant-eating dinosaurs, which leads scientists to believe that different types of plant-eaters grouped together to feed, drink and maybe even migrate (moving from one area to another).

Corythosaurus skull

It is most famous for its helmet or half-dinner plate-like crest. It is known from remains belonging to at least twenty individuals. The crest is similar to the helmets worn by ancient Corinthian warriors; this resulted in its name. The crest grew until adulthood and was likely used as a mating ritual ornament. There appears to be gender differentiation regarding the size of the crest, with males having a larger crest.

animatronic Corythosaurus

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10. Monolophosaurus

Discovered in 1981 in the Wucaiwan member of the Junggar Basin in the Shishugou Formation in Xijiang, China, Monolophosaurus was a medium-sized tetanurae theropod dinosaur that stalked the area during the Mid Jurassic period. Meaning “Single-crested Lizard,” Monolophosaurus had a rounded crest over its head that would’ve been brightly colored and used to attract members of the opposite sex as well intimidate rival males.

monolophosaurus skull


Monolophosaurus skeleton

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