Sunday, 19 August, 2018


Newly discovered armored dinosaur lived on a lost continent

'Really remarkable species': New armoured dinosaur discovered in southern Utah Mystery of Spiky-Skulled Utah Dinosaur Solved
Kristine Garrett | 23 July, 2018, 15:29

A new species of armoured dinosaur has been discovered in America and named after the volunteer that helped clean its skull. While it would have been prey for carnivorous dinosaurs such as tyrannosaurs, its tank-like shape and bony tail club would have allowed it to deal "pretty significant blows" to predators.

"I never thought that I would have the opportunity to actually work on fossils that could be important for palaeontologists".

The fossil of the dinosaur is now on display at the Past Worlds Gallery of the Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The varieties of ankylosaur was a squat plant-eater that wandered southerly Utah on 4 legs concerning 76 million years back, throughout the late Cretaceous Duration. They were particularly happy with the discovery of an intact skull, which showed the spikes growing out of its head.

Paleontologists excavated in National forest, Utah and found the skeleton of a new species of dinosaur.

In 2008, researchers found the fossil of a remarkable armored dinosaur in southern Utah.

The fossil itself is the most complete skeleton of any ankylosaurid dinosaur found in the southwestern USA, as it includes a complete skull, much of the vertebral column, a complete tail club, several fore and hind limb elements, and bony body armor that includes two neck rings and spiked armor plates.

Wiersma described the Akainacephalus as a four-legged, medium-sized dinosaur that was roughly 5 metres long and 1.5 metres tall. In all, it took palaeontologists almost four years to assemble and fully prepare the bones for analysis. Instead of following the same trend laid out by North American ankylosaurids during its time (the Late Cretaceous), such as smooth armor plates on its skull, A. johnsoni is more similar to Asian ankylosaurids - who sport pronounced spikes on their skull plates.

Akainacephalus once roamed the southern part of Laramidia, a landmass on the western coast of a shallow sea that flooded the central region, splitting the continent of North America in two. North American ankylosaurids have flatter armour on their bodies.

The ankylosaurid further confirms that there were at least two immigration events that happened in the late Cretaceous period.

Paleontologists think the pets moved to The United States and Canada a number of times over the years when decreased water level permitted them to go across a land bridge.

Visiting Dutch national Jelle Wiersma, a PhD candidate at JCU, spent more than two years co-writing a paper on the skeletal remains of a dinosaur that was unearthed in the USA.

"A major long-term goal of our work in southern Utah is to try and understand why the species in GSENM differ from relatives of the same geologic age found in other parts of Laramidia".

"A reasonable hypothesis would be that ankylosaurids from Utah are related to those found elsewhere in western North America, so we were really surprised to discover that Akainacephalus was so closely related to species from Asia", said Randall Irmis, co-author of the study and curator of paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Utah, said in a statement.

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