Taphonomy and habitat preference of North American pachycephalosaurids (Dinosauria, Ornithischia)
Mallon et al
The traditional view of North American pachycephalosaurids holds that their domes are typically worn, as though they had undergone extensive fluvial transport, and that these animals therefore inhabited upland environments (e.g. piedmont/intermontane settings) relative to where their remains are typically found. Using a statistically robust sample of domes from Alberta, Canada, we subject these hypotheses to various forms of quantitative testing and show that: (1) domes typically exhibit minimal rounding; (2) dome roundness does not positively correlate with distance from the presumed intermontane origin; and (3) pachycephalosaurid remains are not relatively more abundant in intermontane than in alluvial or coastal plain palaeoenvironments. These findings contradict the traditional view of North American pachycephalosaurid dome taphonomy and support the argument that pachycephalosaurids frequented alluvial and coastal lowlands.