Daily Archives: January 7, 2015


Let us now amble in the beam of that most lambent of sauri, lambeosaurus: a large lizard, nearly 10 metres from bouche to back end, with a coxcomb’s crest – in fact, a headpiece something like a hatchet, or a cartoonist’s rendition of the hairdo of the later Elvis. It had short forearms, and in consequence may have sometimes crouched forward like a kitten playfully preparing to pounce. A gigantic, squamous, green kitten with a beak and a bony bouffant.

The lambeosaurus seems to provoke ardent loyalty. As has been proclaimed on reddit, “we feel that the Lambeosaurus is clearly the best dinosaur, and that no better dinosaurs have existed or will exist in the future.” With a hollow crest that its sinuses actually ran through and that may have been a sound amplifier too (and perhaps an opener for very large bottles), and with eating practices that would not displease a Buddhist monk, how could it not be?

Witness further this video, “Extinct Dinosaurs: The Lambeosaurus,” with “Smackdown” by Blue Stahli for a soundtrack. What is not to enthuse over? (I must confess I can hardly wait for the series on dinosaurs that are not extinct, as the title implies there must be.)

A lack of embalmed specimens has proven something of a problem in labeling this amiable thunder lizard. Paleontologists, having only the jigsaw puzzles of broken bones to piece specimens together, at first took as different species what are now thought to be just different ages and sexes of the beast. It does have more than one species, but not as many as first believed.

Do you wonder where the name comes from? It is named after Lawrence Lambe, a pioneering paleontologist. As the Wikipedia article tells us (note the thrilling attempts at stylistic variation in the sentences!), “In 1902, he described Canada’s first dinosaur finds, various species of Monoclonius. He described Centrosaurus in 1904. Euoplocephalus was named by him, in 1910. In 1913, he named Styracosaurus. He was responsible for naming Chasmosaurus and Gorgosaurus, in 1914 and Eoceratops in 1915. In 1917, he created the genus Edmontosaurus. In 1919 came Panoplosaurus. He also discovered and named the hadrosaurid Gryposaurus.” This passage is like a paleontological nerdgasm in a house of mirrors.

Did you notice that lambeosaurus is not named above? Lambe did not name a saurus after himself. He did study the materials that were ultimately put together to be called Lambeosaurus lambei, but it was not all assembled before Lambe disassembled in 1919. The beastie was named after him in 1923 by William Parks following its full recreation.

I do not know for sure, but I strongly suspect Lambe was pronounced like lamb. Notwithstanding this, in lambeosaurus the be is pronounced: “lam bee o sor us.” We may hold Lambe blameless in this. He did not finish the assembly. It was only once the parts were put together that this extra syllable came to be.