Edmontosaurus is a very well-known dinosaur, with a wealth of material that includes skeletal remains, skin impressions, and even “mummified” dinosaurs with skin intact.
However, the history of its discovery is quite complicated. It was initially discovered by paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1892 andnamed Claosaurus annectens. It was later reclassified as belonging to the genus Trachodon and Thespesius.
It was until 1917 that Lawrence Lambe would name the skeletons discovered near the Red Deer River in Canada by Levi and George Sternberg “Edmontosaurus regalis”.
Later, in 1942, an attempt was made to reconcile the complicated hadrosaur family, and the genus Anatosaurus was created. Many hadrosaurs, including Marsh’s Claosaurus annectens, would be folded into Anatosaurus. This lasted until the 1970s, when a new examination revealed that Anatosaurus annectens was actually a species of Edmontosaurus.
In 2007 an Edmontosaurus fossil, dubbed “Dakota” was found, which included preserved skin and muscle, leading to a wealth of new information about hadrosaurs and Edmontosaurus in particular.
In 2013, Phil Bell and Federico Fanti made another surprising discovery that shed light on Edmontosaurus. They uncovered a specimen that should traces of a fleshy crest on E. regalis, resembling the comb of a rooster. Bony crests had been known on many hadrosaur species such as Parasaurolophus, but nothing like this.