Dinosaur: Getting to Know the Ankylosaurus

A well-known armored dinosaur, Ankylosaurus was once the victim of misidentification. Whilst the image today of this remarkable dino is unmistakable, Ankly, as we're now going to refer to them, was presented in a very different form. American Museum of Natural History prospector, Barnum Brown, thought that Ankly was some sort of Stegosaurus and pieced a skeleton together with a high arching back and circular armored patterns. As we now know today, he was very wrong as Ankly looked nothing like that reconstruction.

Ankly lived in the late Cretaceous period, which was around 70 million to 65 million years ago. Fossil remains have been found in Montana, Wyoming and Alberta. Unfortunately Ankly bones are pretty rare and only three good quality specimens have been found. Experts have speculated that this is because Ankly probably lived on higher ground and not near the river deltas where most fossils have been located. The three full skeletons that were found were probably either washed down stream or may have been older animals who lost their way.

A plant eater who would have eaten vast amounts, Ankly would have reached lengths of over 25 feet as a fully grown adult. With a stocky build, but without much height, one could be mistaken for thinking this dino was bread for fighting as Ankly was a heavily armored creature that could do serious damage if it needed. The armor was made from bone pieces on the outside of the skin. In fact their armor was so heavy that even their eyelids had protective plates.

The most impressive feature of an Ankylosaurus was its tail, as Ankly had armored plates that ran down its vertebrae and onto the tail itself. If the plates did not act as enough protection then the vertebrae of the back one-third of the tail could overlap, turning it into a solid handle which had several plates at the end acting as a club. These plates fused together into a single unit with a further two plates on either side. That's right, as much as Ankly was protected from predators, it also had a well-equipped weapon that could do major damage.

Ankylosaurus is yet another fantastic example of a unique dinosaur that wandered this planet long before mankind. They may not standout in people imagination as much as a Tyrannosaurus Rex or the lovable Triceratops, however there is no denying Ankylosaurus was a truly unmistakable dinosaur.


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