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ANKYLOSAURUS

a herbivorous ankylosaurid (armour plated) dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America.
Ankylosaurus
Pronunciation: ang-KI-lo-SOR-us
Meaning: Stiff lizard
Author/s: Barnum Brown (1908)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Montana, USA
Chart Position: 69

Ankylosaurus magniventris

If you're looking for a shining example of evolution's knack of evening the odds for vegetarians you need look no further. Ankylosaurus was a large and cumbersome four-legged dinosaur with plates of armour from end to end (even on its eyelids) and a thunderous mace-like tail. It was armed and dangerous, a veritable tank some sixty-five million years before the US Army honored William Tecumseh Sherman in their version, but its fortification came at a cost.

Being so heavily fused meant its name was a no-brainer - stiff lizard - but the flipside of being as tough as your average bomb shelter was that Ankylosaurus itself was a bit of a no-brainer too. With its small-ish, thick bone-laden skull minimizing brain space there wasn't a lot of room for thinking, so instinct decided everything. Ripping through foliage with a beak-tipped mouth was about as thought provoking as they got, though armour plated jaws meant chewing was out of the question, and when threatened their instinct screamed "swing for a home run!". As the largest and most heavily-fortified of its clan, Ankylosaurus was more than capable of turning the tables on carnivorous death-dealers with a swish of its enormous-club-ended tail, and only predators who were desperately hungry, really brave or just plain daft would even contemplate tackling one.

The mind boggles at the potential implications of reproduction, but they must have managed it, and quite successfully too, as ankylosaurs have been around since their Mid-Jurassic cousin Gargoyleosaurus first raised his hideously ugly head. Since then they have matched the carnivore's super-sizing tendencies step for step, culminating in Ankylosaurus, the latest living ankylosaur, which meant meals didn't come any easier, and it took an entire K/T extinction to stop them dead in their tracks.
Etymology
On paper, the closest derivation for Ankylosaurus is "ankulos" (Greek: bent, crooked) and "sauros" (Greek: lizard). However, Barnum Brown used "ankylosis" - a medical term describing the stiffening of joints caused by bone fusion, which is why Ankylosaurus is referred to as the fused or stiff lizard.
The species epithet, magniventris, from the Latin "magnus" (great) and "venter" (belly), is a reference to the animals great width.
Discovery
The first fossils of the Fused Lizard were recovered from the Hell Creek Formation (upper end of Gilbert Creek), Montana, USA in 1906. Its remains have also been discovered in Alberta's Scollard Formation (AMNH 5214) and possibly Wyoming's Lance Formation (75 osteoderms, originally thought to belong to "Dynamosaurus imperiosus", which is now known as Tyrannosaurus rex).
The Holotype (AMNH 5895 - housed at the American Museum of Natural History) consists of the top portion of skull, two teeth, five neck vertebrae, eleven back vertebrae, three tail vertebrae, a right scapulacoracoid, ribs, and dermal armor.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age range: 67-66 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 9 meters
Est. max. hip height: 1.5 meters
Est. max. weight: 4 tons
Diet: Herbivore
References
• M.K. Vickaryous, T. Maryańska and D.B. Weishampel (2004) "Ankylosauria" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second edition".
• B. Brown and P.C. Kaisen (1908) The Ankylosauridae, a new family of armored dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous. Bulletin of the AMNH; v.24, article 12. Page 187-201.
• K. Carpenter (2004) "Redescription of Ankylosaurus magniventris Brown 1908 from the Upper Cretaceous of the Western Interior of North America".
• V.M. Arbour (2009) "Estimating Impact Forces of Tail Club Strikes by Ankylosaurid Dinosaurs".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ANKYLOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Aug 2017.
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