Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Ankylosaurus magniventris
About a week ago we learned all about an armored Sauropod, Ampelosaurus. Today we'll learn about one of the most famous armored Dinosaurs of them all- Ankylosaurus. Like Ampelosaurus, Ankylosaurus lived during the late Cretaceous period... though a few million years later and in a different part of the world.

There is only one identified species within the Ankylosaurus genus-- A. magniventris. It was first uncovered in Montana back in 1906, and officially named in 1908. Ankylosaurus translates to "Curved Lizard" or "Stiffened Lizard," while magniventris means "great belly," a reference to the animal's width.

Ankylosaurus was covered by osteoderms of varying sizes, and those plates most likely had keratin on top of them as well. They also had large, clubbed tails-- those clubs were actually osteoderms fused with the last few vertebrae on the tail. Those plates and club (and the horns on their head) made them a difficult animal for predators to take down.

Ankylosaurus was an herbivore, and had a beak and small teeth that were used to browse from trees. They actually lacked molars, so food wasn't really ground up. Overall, we know a lot about the anatomy of the Ankylosaurus... except for what its feet looked like! No foot fossils have ever been found, though based on the feet of closer relatives, they probably had five toes on each foot.

Status : Extinct for 65 million years
Location : North America
Size : Length up to 30ft (9m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class:  Reptilia -- clade : Dinosauria
Order : †Ornithischia -- Family : †Ankylosauridae
Genus : †Ankylosaurus -- Species : †A. magniventris

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