This Armored ᴅιɴosᴀuʀ With a Spiky Head Just Changed What We Know About Their Migration

Back in 2008, researchers found a weird set of dinosaur fossils in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

Most ankylosaurid dinosaurs found in the area have smooth bony armour on their skull. This one was spiky.

After 10 years of hard work the research has just been published, confirming this weird spike-armoured oddity is, in fact, a whole new genus of dinosaur, currently represented by one species – Akainacephalus johnsoni.

Ankylosaurids are a family of armoured dinosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous period, between 100 and 66 million years ago. Most of these animals were herbivores, and would spend their days plodding around, at times possibly head-butting each other with their armoured heads.

There are lots of different types of ankylosaurids, but most of the ones from western North America during the Late Cretaceous had smooth bony armour on their heads.

Since their 76 million-year-old finding had a spiky head instead, the researchers immediately figured it might not be quite the same as the others – but it took some detective work to properly determine its place in the family tree.

And that place was quite surprising.

Instead of being related to ankylosaurids found in western North America, the team found that A. johnsoni was more closely related to Asian ankylosaurids, such as Saichania and Tarchia.

“A reasonable hypothesis would be that ankylosaurids from Utah are related to those found elsewhere in western North America, so we were really surprised to discover that Akainacephalus was so closely related to species from Asia,” said Curator of Paleontology from the Natural History Museum of Utah, Randall Irmis.

This means there were potentially at least two immigration events during the Late Cretaceous period – it’s how A. johnsoni and a close relative Nodocephalosaurus ended up in America, having wandered across a land bridge from Asia.

“It is always exciting to name a new fossil taxon, but it is equally exciting if that taxon also provides additional insights into the bigger picture of its life, such as its diet or aspects of its behaviour, and the environment it lived in,” said first author Jelle Wiersma.

“Not only is this the first described and named Late Cretaceous ankylosaurid dinosaur from Utah, but this unique animal also strengthens the evidence that distinct northern and southern provincialism existed during the late Campanian stage in Laramidia.”

The skeleton is the most complete ankylosaurid from the Late Cretaceous from the area. It includes a complete skull, a number of vertebrae, a complete tail club and even some parts of the front and hind limbs.

“It is extremely fascinating and important for the science of paleontology that we can read so much information from the fossil record, allowing us to better understand extinct organisms and the ecosystems they were a part of,” added Wiersma.

Related Posts

“Unveiling a ріeсe of History: Young Boy Discovers іпсгedіЬɩe 30,000-Year-Old Mammoth сагсаѕѕ”

Many young Ƅoys haʋe an innate curiosity to explore their surroundings, hoping to stuмƄle upon soмething extraordinary. That’s precisely what happened to an 11-year-old Russian Ƅoy who,…

“Half-Fish, Half-Frog: Bizarre Creature Captured in Indonesia”

Indonesian fishermen have саᴜɡһt a ѕtгапɡe creature that has left the online community Ьewіɩdeгed. The creature, which appears to be half fish and half frog, has left…

“Stone-Cold Enigma: The Astonishing Transformation of a Mythical Giant Snake into Stone Baffles Scientists”

Scientists were left Ьewіɩdeгed when they discovered that the ɩeɡeпdагу giant snake had been mysteriously petrified Receпtly, archaeologists have discovered a vast “fossil” of aп aпcieпt sпake…

Reindeer Herders Stumble Upon 10,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Skeleton With Ligaments Intact

Researchers have already retrieved part of the mammoth’s pelt and are hoping to find bits of preserved brain in its skull. Artem Cheremisov/Gov. of Yamalo-Nenets of Russia…

Sʜᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ!!More thaп 9,000 years old giaпt boпes have beeп foυпd iп Greece

sʜᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ!! ʜᴜɢᴇ ????-ʏᴇᴀʀ-ᴏʟᴅ sᴋᴇʟᴇᴛᴏɴ ғᴏᴜɴᴅ ɪɴ ɢʟɪsʜ. ɢɪᴀɴᴛ ʙᴏɴᴇs ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴ ?,??? ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴏʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʙᴇᴇɴ ғᴏᴜɴᴅ ɪɴ ɢʀᴇᴇᴄᴇ. ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɢɪᴀɴᴛs ᴏɴᴄᴇ ᴇxɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴜᴍᴀɴ sᴋᴇʟᴇᴛᴏɴ…

The Most Mysterioυs Αпd Rare Gold-cast Coffiп Iп The World, 10 Years Still No Oпe Dares To Opeп It

Dυriпg the past 10 years, experts had hoped to υпcover the mystery iпside the rare goldeп coffiп with the help of special techпiqυes. However, besides still пot…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *