The unarmored, hadrosaurian dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous of North America constitute an interesting group about which much has been written and many species described. A review of this literature showed many different angles of approach, and it was in part to reconcile these various descriptions and reduce them to certain comparable common factors that this monographic study was undertaken. Aside from the mere compilation of the literature of these dinosaurs, redescriptions were prepared, nearly always in the presence of the original types and such other associated material as had come to light since the species was named.
The authors also undertook as complete a morphological study of the animals as the circumstances permitted, learning what they could of the mechanics of the skeleton and teeth, the musculature and integument, the nervous system and sense organs, and the probable functions of these various parts in the living animal. They further endeavored to imagine the reconstructed creatures in their appropriate environment—physical, climatic, vegetal, and animate—and to picture them and their manner of life as animate beings of a vanished age. An account of their distribution both in time and space is given, as well as a discussion of their probable phylogeny and the trend of their evolution.