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Parasaurolophus was 33 feet (10 meters) long, 16 feet (4.9 meters) tall, and weighed about 3 to 4 tons. The crest on its head was up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and hollow, and it is for this feature that the creature was named: its name means "near crested lizard" and was chosen in reference to Saurolophus.
Skulls with shorter crests have been found. At first, it was believed that these were from a different species, but now scientists believe that females had shorter crests than the males. Scientists generally believe that the crests were used to help visually recognize other members of the same species, as well as for making sounds.
An unique feature of Parasaurolophus, is a notch that appears in its backbone. One possibility is that the crest may have fitted into this notch when the animal was running through dense forest, using the crest could as deflector to push away low hanging branches.
Parasaurolophus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 76 to 74 million years ago
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