The insertions of the cervical axial musculature on the occiput in marginocephalian and tyrannosaurid dinosaurs have been reconstructed in several studies with a view to their functional implications. Most of the past reconstructions on marginocephalians, however, relied on the anatomy of just one clade of reptiles, Lepidosauria, and lack phylogenetic justification. In this study, these past reconstructions were evaluated using the Extant Phylogenetic Bracket approach based on the anatomy of various extant diapsids. Many muscle insertions reconstructed in this study were substantially different from those in the past studies, demonstrating the importance of phylogenetically justified inferences based on the conditions of Aves and Crocodylia for reconstructing the anatomy of non-avian dinosaurs. The present reconstructions show that axial muscle insertions were generally enlarged in derived marginocephalians, apparently correlated with expansion of their parietosquamosal shelf/frill. Several muscle insertions on the occiput in tyrannosaurids reconstructed in this study using the Extant Phylogenetic Bracket approach were also rather different from recent reconstructions based on the same, phylogenetic and parsimony-based method. Such differences are mainly due to differences in initial identifications of muscle insertion areas or different hypotheses on muscle homologies in extant diapsids. This result emphasizes the importance of accurate and detailed observations on the anatomy of extant animals as the basis for paleobiological inferences such as anatomical reconstructions and functional analyses. Anat Rec 293:1360–1386, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.