The Washington Post

Newly discovered dinosaur species had conelike armor on its head

With its head and snout coated in bony armor formed like cones and pyramids, a spiky tanklike dinosaur dug up in southern Utah was not simply one other fairly face.

Scientists on Thursday introduced the invention of fossils of a dinosaur named Akainacephalus johnsoni (pronounced uh-KEE-nuh-SEFF-uh-luss JON-son-eye) that lived 76 million years in the past throughout the Cretaceous Period. It was a four-legged, armor-studded plant eater with a menacing membership on the finish of its tail.

It was a member of a dinosaur group known as ankylosaurs (ang-KILE-uh-SAWRS), among the many most closely armored animals ever on Earth — and for good motive, contemplating the predators round on the time.

The distinctive form and association of its head and snout armor could also be its most fascinating trait, the researchers stated, giving clues concerning the Asian ancestry of a number of the ankylosaurs that roamed western North America close to the top of the dinosaur period.

“Someone once told me that Akainacephalus, and ankylosaurs in general, were quite ugly and had a face only a mother could love. I must say that I wholeheartedly disagree. These are quite extraordinary and beautiful animals,” stated paleontologist Jelle Wiersma of James Cook University in Australia.

Akainacephalus was a medium-size ankylosaur, about 16 toes lengthy, with a brief, boxy head coated in bony armor and a beak and small enamel for cropping vegetation, stated paleontologist Randall Irmis of the Natural History Museum of Utah and the University of Utah.

It had a brief neck and broad torso, walked on 4 quick stout legs, and will have whacked predators with its bony tail membership. It lived in a heat, humid setting just like southern Louisiana’s bayous, with slow-moving streams and rivers and related swamps.

The intensive skeletal stays, together with a whole cranium, had been excavated in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Akainacephalus, in addition to a cousin known as Nodocephalosaurus (NOH-do-SEF-a-lo-SOR-us), which lived in New Mexico a pair million years later, possessed spiky head armor just like Asian members of this dinosaur group. Other associated North American dinosaurs similar to Ankylosaurus had comparatively flat armor overlaying the head.

This reveals that Akainacephalus and Nodocephalosaurus had been shut family to Asian ankylosaurs and that a number of emigration occasions involving this group occurred from Asia to North America late within the Cretaceous Period, the researchers stated. This resulted in two distinct lineages in North America of club-tailed ankylosaurs.

Source link