This skull dome is from a dinosaur called Stegoceras, and not from
the more commonly known stegosaurus. While stegosaurus had plates
and tail spikes, its skull was very basic and primitive. In contrast,
Stegoceras’ skull was much more ornate and "sexy".
Stegoceras was the smallest North American Pachycephalosaurs with
a full grown adult measuring perhaps six to eight feet.
was first described in 1902 by Lawrence Lambe as a ceratopsian.
It was not until 1924 that paleontologists realized it was a Pachycephalosaur.
From the 1920s
to 1945, it was believed to be related to, or even synonymous with
the theropod Troodon, due to the similar teeth. It was eventually
correctly classified and named Stegoceras, meaning "horny roof".
is only known from partial specimens from North America, Its fossils
are rarely found, and are mostly small, fragmental skull domes,
isolated teeth, and toe digits. According to our collector: "I
have only seen three skull dome fragments from this
animal in fifteen years of hunting. Two of them had the brain impressions.
None of them had ornamental knobs. This Stegoceras dome has the
best ornamental knobs I have ever seen on an animal this small”.
It also has
the interior surface of the brain case. It easily ranks as the best
specimen I have ever found”
is thought to have used its thick dome in head-butting contests
to attract females and/or claim territory. The braincase, back of
the skull, and backbone morphologies suggest that forces were sent
from the dome through the head, around the braincase, and down the
backbone to the limbs. If so, Stegoceras could survive the stress
of head-to-head combat much like modern goats and sheep.