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MINMI

a herbivorous ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Australia.
Pronunciation: MIN-mee
Meaning: for Minmi Crossing
Author/s: Ralph Molnar (1980)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Queensland, Australia
Chart Position: 228

Minmi paravertebra

By four-legged dinosaur standards Minmi was small. It was only two meters long, less than a meter high at the shoulder, and maybe 75kg in weight. It also had a relatively small skull which lacked much in the way of fortification and housed a tiny brain. What it had an abundance of, however, was knobbly armour plates arranged in rows which were largest around its neck then became progressively smaller down its back, abdomen, and legs, and pointy and spiky towards its hip. A number of hard to place triangular plates may have been attached to each side of its long tail, perhaps overlapping to form sets of "shears" in life, and would've been an effective weapon against would-be predators.

The back legs of Minmi were larger than its front ones, though all were proportionately longer than those of its brethren, and its spine was reinforced with bony plates that ran parallel to the vertebrae (hence the epithet paravertebrae). These features were initially interpreted as adaptations for fast walking, but the study of fossilized tracks suggest Minmi moved at a snails pace, and it's likely that strong legs and reinforced spine were needed simply to carry its heavy suit of armour.

Initially identified as an ankyloaurian but later recovered as a basal member of Ankylosauridae proper, Minmi may have had cheeks. The prescence of neatly-snipped fossilized gut contents (cololite... not to be confused with coprolite!), the position of its teeth, and a lack of plant-grinding gastroliths suggests Minmi chewed its food with a guillotine-like motion to extract maximum nutrients rather than swallow great wads of vegetation and lowly "gizzard stones" to pulverise it. The obvious benefit of having cheeks is that they prevent fodder from falling to the floor thus rendering the whole process of chewing absolutely pointless, and a few seeds and fruiting bodies which were also preserved in its gut is not enough to sustain a living being, regardless of what your average vegetarian would have you believe.

At one time Minmi owned the title of shortest dinosaur name, then along came Mei—a duck-sized troodontid from China—who selfishly dropped the "inm" and replacing it with "e". And Kol is shorter too. But being the best-represented Australian dinosaur and most complete ankylosaurian known from the southern continents brought some sort of comfort... until Leahey snaffled its best specimen and renamed it Kunbarrasaurus in 2015. Life after death is so unfair.
Etymology
Minmi is named after Minmi crossing, Australia, where it was discovered.
The specific epithet, paravertebra, is derived from the Latin "para" (alongside) and "vertebra" (self explanotary, we think) which refers to the unique reinforcing plates of bone that run along the sides of its vertebral column.
Discovery
The remains of Minmi were discovered at the Minmi Crossing in the Bungil Formation, nr. Roma, Queensland, Australia. The holotype (QM F10329) is a partial skeleton including vertebre, ribs, a right foot, and loads of armour. Aside from its most complete skeleton (QM F18101), which was spirited away to become Kunbarrasaurus ieversi in 2015, five more Minmi specimens have been found in Queensland, but they have yet to be described in any detail.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Cretaceous
Stage: Aptian-Albian
Age range: 125-100 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 2 meters
Est. max. hip height: 0.8 meters
Est. max. weight: 75 Kg
Diet: Herbivore
References
• R. E. Molnar (1980) "An ankylosaur (Ornithischia: Reptilia) from the Lower Cretaceous of southern Queensland". Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 20: 77-87.
• Ralph E. Molnar and Trevor H. Clifford (2001) "An ankylosaurian cololite from Queensland, Australia" in Kenneth Carpenter (ed.) "The Armored Dinosaurs". Indiana University Press.
• Ralph E. Molnar (2001) "Armor of the small ankylosaur Minmi" in Kenneth Carpenter (ed.) "The Armored Dinosaurs". Indiana University Press.
• Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. (2008) "Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages". Random House Publishing Inc.
• Federico L. Agnolin, Martín D. Ezcurra, Diego F. Pais and Steven W. Salisbury (2010) "A reappraisal of the Cretaceous non-avian dinosaur faunas from Australia and New Zealand: evidence for their Gondwanan affinities". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 8: 257–300.
Leahey LG, Molnar RE, Carpenter K, Witmer LM, Salisbury SW (2015) "Cranial osteology of the ankylosaurian dinosaur formerly known as Minmi sp. (Ornithischia: Thyreophora) from the Lower Cretaceous Allaru Mudstone of Richmond, Queensland, Australia". PeerJ 3:e1475 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1475.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "MINMI :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 25th Sep 2017.
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