Episode 402: The amazing paleontologist who inspired Indiana Jones. Roy Chapman Andrews fought through the Gobi Desert to make some miraculous dinosaur discoveries including Velociraptor, Oviraptor, and some amazing dinosaur nests.
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The dinosaur of the day: Gravitholus
- Pachycephalosaurid that lived in the Late Cretaceous in what is now Alberta, Canada (Dinosaur Park Formation)
- Looked somewhat similar to Pachycephalosaurus, with a domed head, walked on two legs, had short arms
- Estimated to be 9.8 ft (3 m) long
- Type species is Gravitholus albertae
- Holotype is an incomplete, heavily fused skull roof
- Described in 1979 by W. P. Wall and Peter Galton
- Genus name means “heavy dome”
- May have head butted, for mates or territory
- Debate over whether Gravitholus is distinct or synonymous with Stegoceras
- In 2020, Aaron Dyer and Mark Powers used Synchrotron imaging to study the skull roof, and proposed Gravitholus was synonymous with Stegoceras
- Found the differences between Gravitholus and Stegoceras were due to ontogeny, and that the Gravitholus specimen was mature
- Other pachycephalosaurs known from Dinosaur Park Formation include Stegoceras, Hanssuesia, and Foraminacephale, though it’s not clear if they lived at the same time
Roy Chapman Andrews was indirectly the inspiration for the character Indiana Jones.
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