Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 85.8 Ma
|Skull of Aralosaurus. Known material white|
Aralosaurus (meaning "Aral Sea lizard", because it was found in the Aral Sea - Greek sauros = lizard) was a genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur which lived during the Late Cretaceous of what is now Kazakhstan. Aralosaurus was characterized by a small, bony peak on its nose, much like its relatives Maiasaura and Gryposaurus. It was described by Soviet paleontologist A. Rozhdestvensky in 1968.
Aralosaurus was a herbivore that lived in the late Cretaceous period, sometime between 93.5 and 85.8 million years ago. Several relatives, such as Jaxartosaurus have also been found in the surrounding area where Aralosaurus was found.
Aralosaurus was about the size of an elephant. Although only one near complete skull has been found, this allowed to identify it due to the presence of a beak with nearly 1,000 small teeth in 30 rows. These teeth were used for breaking up plant matter by chewing, a feature common in herbivorous dinosaurs, but unusual for reptiles.The back of an Aralosaurus skull was wide, a feature suggestive of large jaw muscles used to power its chewing apparatus.
The nasal peak before the eyes was common to most hadrosaurs. This bump may have also been used as a weapon in duels between males by head butting into one another, much like modern day animals such as rams and goats. It had a thick tail, bulky body and powerful hind legs, all also common with other hadrosaurs.
- "Aralosaurus". In: Dodson, Peter & Britt, Brooks & Carpenter, Kenneth & Forster, Catherine A. & Gillette, David D. & Norell, Mark A. & Olshevsky, George & Parrish, J. Michael & Weishampel, David B. The Age of Dinosaurs. Publications International, LTD. p. 126. ISBN 0-7853-0443-6.
- A. K. Rozhdestvensky. 1968. Gadrozavry Kazakhstana [Hadrosaurs of Kazakhstan]. [Upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic Amphibians and Reptiles]. Akademia Nauk SSSR, Moscow 97-141
- Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. (2012) Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, Winter 2011 Appendix.