An Ultimate Guide to Edmontosaurus: Lizard of Edmonton

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Name Meaning“Named after the Edmonton Formation in Alberta, Canada, where its fossils were first discovered”Height3 meters (10 feet) at the hip
PronunciationEd-mon-toh-SAW-rusLength9 meters (30 feet)
EraMesozoicLate CretaceousWeight11 short tons (22,000 lbs)
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & OrnithopodaLocationAlberta (Canada) and Montana (United States)

Edmontosaurus Pictures

Edmontosaurus | Warpaintcobra via iStock

The Edmontosaurus

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Edmontosaurus Concept
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Edmontosaurus Concept

The herbivorous dinosaur known as Edmontosaurus (named after Alberta’s Edmonton Formation, where its remains were found) ruled the prehistoric landscapes of North America throughout the Late Cretaceous era.

This gigantic creature was a beautiful example of the wonders of nature, with its slender frame and bill-like snout.

Edmontosaurus, which could grow to be 12 meters in length, was a majestic beast.

All about this amazing dinosaur, from its powerful limbs to its exquisite mouth, authority emanated.

The fossil record shows that it traveled on both two and four legs, easily adjusting to the varied landscape.

Edmontosaurus played a key part in maintaining the delicate balance of the ancient environment as it explored for food, eating vegetation, and fruit.

This article provides a general overview of its characteristics, habitat, sustenance, and significance toward comprehending ancient life, appealing to dinosaur lovers and those fascinated by the prehistoric past of Earth.

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Physical Characteristics

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Edmontosaurus Size Comparison Chart
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Edmontosaurus Size Comparison Chart

Edmontosaurus stood out amongst its contemporaries due to its striking look.

With a length of up to 12 meters and a weight of several tons, this massive herbivore was certainly a sight to see.

Its elegant bearing was emphasized by its slim physique, which also hinted at its formidable might.

One of the most notable features of Edmontosaurus was its remarkable cranium.

The most intriguing aspect of its face was its muzzle, which resembled the beak of a duck.

Edmontosaurus was able to make good use of its environment’s rich vegetation because of this modification.

With its hadrosaur-typical ridges of hundreds of densely packed teeth, it could easily crush and grind tough plant material.

Plant-based parts, such as leaves, branches, and fruits, were more easily processed with the help of these dental batteries.

Edmontosaurus had a distinctive duck-billed look because of its long and wide snout.

Photorealistic 3D rendering of an Edmontosaurus
Photorealistic 3D rendering of an Edmontosaurus | leonello via iStock

This shovel-like, squat snout was designed for grazing on plants at ground level.

It could simply sweep its snout from side to side to clear the path for plant matter.

The muscle in its mandibles provided the strength required to break down the large quantities of plant material it consumed.

Another distinguishing characteristic of Edmontosaurus was the bony crests that adorned the heads of some of the species within the genus.

The crests of several of the examples were very ornate.

These crests atop the heads of Edmontosaurus presumably had a visual purpose, drawing the attention of potential mates or serving as a means of identification within the species.

The existence of these crests elevated an already magnificent dinosaur to a whole new level of wonder and fascination.

The way in which Edmontosaurus moved about varied.

It could switch between walking upright and on all fours, contingent upon the task at hand or the surface it was traversing.

Its strong forelimbs and hindlimbs allowed it to adopt a quadrupedal stance while feeding on low-lying foliage.

Illustration of an Edmontosaurus dinosaur
Illustration of an Edmontosaurus dinosaur | Sebastian Kaulitzki via GettyImages

It could, however, stand on two feet and transverse when reaching for higher foliage or while engaged in quick movement. This incredible beast showed its flexibility and versatility by switching to bipedal mobility when it was essential, allowing it to move with greater agility and speed.

There were just three toes on each foot, and four fingers on each hand.

Flesh bound around three of these fingers to form something similar to a glove.

The pinky, the very last finger, was separated from the others and developed thumb-like gripping abilities.

Edmontosaurus could move on all fours thanks to the “glove” that let its hands hold up the rest of the animal, but it could also rear up on two legs to eat branches.

The Edmontosaurus was a huge herbivore that could compete with any of the legendary dinosaurs.

The herbivorous Edmontosaurus thrived alongside other fascinating species like the Triceratops and the Ankylosaurus during the reign of the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex.

These prehistoric giants painted a vivid image of the many ecosystems that flourished millions of years ago, capturing our imaginations and piquing our interest in Earth’s distant past.

Habitat and Distribution

Late Cretaceous North America was home to the dinosaur Edmontosaurus.

The vast distribution of its specimens suggests a large habitat range, perhaps spanning from Alberta, Canada through Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

The results demonstrate that Edmontosaurus was adaptable, and could thrive in settings ranging from coastal areas to thick forests.

It favored areas adjacent to rivers and marshes since these environments often provided an abundance of plant life.

Edmontosaurus’ extensive distribution spans several North American biomes, attesting to the species’ adaptability and resilience.

Edmontosaurus’s home in the Late Cretaceous was characterized by a mild and reasonably constant climate.

A glimpse in the Late Cretaceous' past
A glimpse in the Late Cretaceous’ past | Arthur Dorety via GettyImages

Large interior seas and low-lying coastal plains formed as the continents continued to drift apart.

Plant life was especially abundant in marsh and riverbank areas, and woods occupied a large percentage of the land’s surface.

There was a wide variety of plant and animal life, including dinosaurs like the Edmontosaurus.

The rich diversity of its environment provided for Edmontosaurus and helped form the intricate web of life in which it participated so significantly.

Behavior and Diet

The social structure and mobility habits of the Edmontosaurus were illuminated by the diversity of this dinosaur’s activities.

It was a flexible dinosaur that could walk either on two legs or four, depending on its needs and the surface it was traversing.

Its muscular forelimbs and hindlimbs allowed it to adopt a quadrupedal stance while feeding on low-lying foliage.

Artwork of a male and female duck-billed Edmontosaurus in a swamp living with the herd
Artwork of a male and female duck-billed Edmontosaurus in a swamp living with the herd | Mark Garlick via GettyImages

Edmontosaurus might have lived in herds or communities to avoid danger and make the most of food sources.

Fossil evidence implies that Edmontosaurus communities had a complex social structure, with members of different ages mixing together at large gatherings.

As a herbivore, Edmontosaurus obtained the majority of its nutrition from plants.

Due to its one-of-a-kind duck-billed muzzle and mouth, it was readily able to acquire and ingest vegetation.

Edmontosaurus most likely consumed a variety of plants, such as leaves, branches, fruits, and even coniferous needles.

It could crush and acquire hard plant matter due to its formidable jaw and dental batteries.

Edmontosaurus would have prospered in the Late Cretaceous because of the abundance of vegetation around rivers and swamps, two of the environments it preferred.

Life Cycle

Reconstruction of Edmontosaurus | Natee Puttapipat via Wikipedia CC BY 4.0

Edmontosaurus, like many other dinosaurs, had a life cycle that comprised reproduction, development, and maturity, as well as a potentially unpredictable lifetime.

By comparing these features to those of other extinct animals, we may learn more about the species’ biology and gain perspective.

Males and females of Edmontosaurus mated and had offspring during the sexual reproductive process.

Eggs laid by Edmontosaurus were probably incubated in secret nests, as shown by fossils.

After emerging from their eggs, juveniles would experience a period of fast development.

The appearance and size of Edmontosaurus changed drastically when it reached adulthood.

They were born helpless and small, but the herd’s protection and the care of the parents allowed them to quickly develop and become strong and healthy.

Artwork of a female duck-billed dinosaur, Edmontosaurus
Artwork of a female duck-billed dinosaur, Edmontosaurus | Mark Garlick via GettyImages

Edmontosaurus went through a variety of morphological changes when they reached adulthood, including the development of their signature duck-billed snouts and dental batteries.

These changes helped them obtain and digest plant material more quickly as they evolved into their adult herbivorous diet.

Edmontosaurus lived in different environments and faced different threats during its life, making it difficult to draw conclusions about its lifespan.

Evidence from current reptiles and other dinosaurs with similar traits suggests that Edmontosaurus probably lived for decades.

There are striking similarities between the reproductive tactics, developmental patterns, and longevity of Edmontosaurus and those of other extinct creatures, such as Triceratops.

By comparing and contrasting, we get a better understanding of how the ancient world’s diverse tactics and adaptations shaped the dynamics of the Edmontosaurus and their ecosystems.

Evolution and History

The development of Edmontosaurus and its connections to other ancient species is intriguing.

Edmontosaurus dinosaur, one of the hadrosaurs
Edmontosaurus dinosaur, one of the hadrosaurs | Kurt Miller via GettyImages

It was a member of the vast and varied family of duck-billed dinosaurs called hadrosaurids.

Significant physical, behavioral, and ecological changes occurred in Edmontosaurus and its relatives throughout time.

Early hadrosaurids had shorter snouts and lacked extravagant head crests like those of later Edmontosaurus species.

Over time, the skulls of Edmontosaurus evolved to include longer, wider snouts and more complex bony crests.

Edmontosaurus fit with its ecosystem by eating plant matter with its toothless jaw and dental batteries.

Evidence from fossils suggests that they lived in groups, which provided safety from predators and made better use of available resources.

Edmontosaurus in the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado |
Edmontosaurus in the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado | MCDinosaurhunter via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

To adapt to different ecological circumstances, they likely lived in a wide range of habitats, from coastal plains to interior woods.

The duck-billed dinosaurs like Parasaurolophus and Corythosaurus were all related to Edmontosaurus as fellow hadrosaurids.

These dinosaurs were related and evolved similarly into herbivores, therefore they served comparable ecological roles and had similar anatomical structures.

Interactions with Other Species

Edmontosaurus was part of a complex web of relationships in the Late Cretaceous biome it inhabited.

The Tyrannosaur has just killed an Edmontosaurus
The Tyrannosaur has just killed an Edmontosaurus | Mark Garlick via GettyImages

The ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex preyed on it, and herbivorous dinosaurs like the Triceratops may have fought for food with it.

Despite the lack of hard evidence, it is likely that this species formed symbiotic interactions with particular plant species, helping each other out in exchanges like seed dissemination and pollination.

These interactions shaped the complicated workings of the natural environment during the time of Edmontosaurus, thereby contributing to the elaborate web of life that existed at the time.

Cultural Significance

Edmontosaurus is a very useful research topic because of the new information it provides about dinosaur biology, evolution, and paleoecology.

Edmontosaurus fossils are very common and well-preserved, allowing scientists to learn a great deal about the dinosaur’s cranial anatomy, dental morphology, and tail anatomy.

Edmontosaurus living in a herd to find food
Edmontosaurus living in a herd to find food | Roman Garcia Mora via GettyImages

By studying these features, researchers have learned more about the dinosaurs’ feeding habits, movement patterns, and social interactions.

These fossils have also been very helpful in understanding how dinosaurs evolved.

By examining the growth rings in their bones, scientists were able to make educated guesses about the animals’ ages at puberty and development rates.

Understanding the population and reproductive cycles of dinosaurs is made easier with this data.

The finding of Edmontosaurus remains in diverse places has also provided insight into the dinosaur’s geographic range, preferred habitat, and adaptations to Late Cretaceous environmental changes.

Scientists may learn about a creature’s nutrition and environment by analyzing the isotopic makeup of its molars and bones.

Various media portrayals of Edmontosaurus have left its cultural imprint.

Labelled skull of E. regalis
Labelled skull of E. regalis | Hai Xing et al. via Wikipedia CC BY 4.0

An Edmontosaurus skull is found in the Tyrannosaurus rex’s nest in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” establishing the dinosaur’s recurring role in the Jurassic Park series.

Several films, like “Waking the T. rex: The Story of SUE” and “Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie,” illustrate migratory herds of this dinosaur.

Edmontosaurus was also featured in games like “Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.”

It has maintained its cultural value as a result of its fascinating history and distinctive traits, which continue to interest modern audiences.


Edmontosaurus is important for several reasons, both scientific and cultural.

Pop culture references may be seen in films like “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and books like “Waking the T. rex: The Story of SUE.”

Edmontosaurus has provided important insights into the study of dinosaur development, behavior, and paleoecology.

Researchers have used fossils to learn more about the species’ diet, movement, social structure, and environmental adaptations, among other topics.

Understanding the bigger features of dinosaur biology and the ancient environments in which they thrived is greatly aided by using Edmontosaurus as a model organism.

Its modern importance comes from the advancements it has made in our knowledge of Earth’s ancient history and the continuous inquiry into dinosaur life.


How many distinct species of Edmontosaurus exist?

Edmontosaurus has many species.

When fresh paleontology data and categorization techniques are introduced, the exact quantity may vary.

The genus’ most famous species are Edmontosaurus annectens and regalis.

Anatomical traits like skull size and structure help scientists distinguish these species.

Despite previous suggestions of additional Edmontosaurus species or subspecies, the classification and understanding of this species are currently under scientific investigation.

How did Edmontosaurus communicate?

Edmontosaurus probably communicated through vocalizations, visual displays, and nonverbal indicators like body language.

Due to the difficulties in researching ancient species, precise communication mechanisms are conjectural at best.

Was the Edmontosaurus an intelligent animal?

Edmontosaurus seems to have been a more complex and intelligent creature than other dinosaurs of its period, given the size of its brain and the nature of its activity.

Its intelligence and ability to solve problems would have helped it find food, communicate with others, and survive in the wild.

However, the level of its intelligence is still unknown and may only be deduced from its anatomy and behavior.


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