It’s been some time since we have seen a dinosaur with a face like this.
Up till now, we have needed to make an effort to be thrilled by enigmatic footprints, or mild-mannered behemoths with downy mushy feathers. Or that downright bizarre dino-hybrid that blends swan and penguin and duck parts.
But the invention of previous spiky head, or Akainacephalus johnsoni, is a breath of ferociously recent air — a throwback, if you’ll, to a time when dinosaurs have been dinosaurs.
The fossil stays of Akainacephalus johnsoni — the title actually means “spiky” or “thorny” head — was present in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument again in 2008. That space of the park, often called the Kaiparowits, is so wealthy in dinosaur graves that it is often called “Dinosaur Shangi-La.”
But the 2008 discovery stood, actually, spiky head and shoulders above earlier finds.
“We have a large portion of the skeleton, including nearly all of the skull, a lot of the vertebral column, the pelvis, as well as the limbs and ribs, and a lot of the armor, as well,” Randall Irmis, chief curator of the National History Museum of Utah, notes in a press release. “It’s pretty rare to find so much of the skeleton in one place.”
A ‘utterly completely different’ dinosaur
With such a bounty of bones, reconstruction professional Randy Johnson was capable of reassemble previous spiky head, a cousin of the a lot better-known Ankylosaurus.
And what a fearsome body it turned out to be.
“It’s completely different from any other ankylosaurids that we’ve actually seen,” researcher Jelle Wiersma explains within the launch.
In truth, this specific dinosaur has by no means been recorded in scientific literature till now.
Like its Ankylosaurus cousin, spiky face was coated from head to toe in scales and plates, technically bone tissues deposits referred to as osteoderms. The creatures additionally shared a club-like tail in widespread.
But the standout? A face solely a pin cushion might love.
“Its head is particularly spiky,” Irmis says.
Indeed, it was one of the primary issues scientists famous from the animal’s dusty cranium. They suspect that 76 million years ago — when Akainacephalus johnsoni walked the Earth — these spikes would have made a grand impression.
“What makes Akainacephalus unique is first and foremost its skull,” Wiersma explains in a YouTube video. “If you look at its skull, you’ll see that it’s really heavily ornamented.”
Of course, whenever you share the identical turf as Tyrannosaurus rex, as Akainacephalus did, you want each edge you may get. And typically, you could make a very pointed assertion that you are to not be trifled with.