Ankylosaurus

Name: Ankylosaurus‭ (‬Fused lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: An-kie-lo-sore-us.
Named By: Barnum Brown‭ ‬-‭ ‬1908.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Thyreophora,‭ ‬Ankylosauridae,‭ ‬Ankylosaurinae.
Species: A.‭ ‬magniventris (type).
Type: Herbivore.
Size: Based upon comparison to skull size of other ankylosaurs, the largest known remains of a 64 centimetres long skull credits Ankylosaurus with being at least 6.25 meters in length. Lack of overall fossils however makes more exact details uncertain.
Known locations: Canada, Alberta - Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Scollard Formation. USA, Montana - Hell Creek Formation, New Mexico - Kirtland Formation, Wyoming - Ferris Formation, Lance Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skull,‭ ‬teeth,‭ ‬osteoderms,‭ ‬vertebrae,‭ ‬limb bones,‭ ‬ribs,‭ ‬tail club,‭ ‬all from several fossil locations.‭

       It is something of a paradox that one of the most popular dinosaurs of all time is understood by some of the most incomplete fossil remains.‭ ‬What can be gleaned from the available fossil material is that Ankylosaurus was one of if not the largest of the group.‭ ‬The incomplete fossil evidence however has meant that determining the exact size of Ankylosaurus is problematic and will remain so until further,‭ ‬more complete Ankylosaurus remains are discovered.
       As a low browser,‭ ‬Ankylosaurus’s mouth was shaped for cropping vegetation with an arrangement of leaf shaped shearing teeth behind.‭ ‬One thing worthy of note is that there were no grinding teeth,‭ ‬suggesting that the mouthful was swallowed for processing in a digestive system developed for un-chewed food.‭
       Analysis of available skull material suggests that Ankylosaurus had an exceptionally well developed sense of smell.‭ ‬This would have been a good adaption to detect potential predatory dinosaurs since as a low browser,‭ ‬Ankylosaurus would quite easily have its vision obscured by vegetation.
       Ankylosaurus took armour plating to the extreme,‭ ‬even the eyelids were armoured.‭ ‬Osteoderms ran across its top side and are so extensive they have often been the best preserved parts of the Animal.‭ ‬Particularly large plates covered the shoulder and neck area with smaller pieces in between to allow for movement.‭ ‬Four large horns radiated out from the base of the skull,‭ ‬perhaps to stop large predators like Tyrannosaurus from closing their mouths around its head.
       The tail club was composed of several overly large osteoderms fused together with the end vertebrae.‭ ‬Initially conceived as a defence against predators,‭ ‬it‭’‬s plausible that it may have been used for territorial combat with rivals.

Further reading
- The Ankylosauridae, a new family of armored dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous. - Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 24(12):187-201. - Barnum Brown - 1908. - Redescription of Ankylosaurus magniventris Brown 1908 (Ankylosauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of the Western Interior of North America. - Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 41 (8): 961–86. - K. Carpenter - 2004.



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