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Armed dinosaurs, called ankylosaurs, were able to wield sleghammer-like tail clubs against themselves in conflict, in addition to fending off predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex.
A well-preserved fossil of an ankylosaurus, a plant-eating dinosaur that lived 76 million years ago, is changing the way scientists understand dinosaurs’ armor and how they used their tail clubs.
Research has revealed fossil spikes in the dinosaur’s sides that were broken and healed while the animal was still alive. Researchers believe the injuries were caused when another ankylosaurus drove its tail club into the dinosaur.
The study was published Tuesday in the journal Biology Letters.
Ankylosaurus sported bony plates of various sizes and shapes throughout its body; on the sides of her body they resembled great spikes. Scientists also believe that ankylosaurs may have used their armed tails to assert social dominance, establish boundaries, or even compete for mates.
Ankylosaurs used their tails to fight each other, similar to how animals like deer and ostriches fight each other with their horns and antlers today.
The fossil is a member of a particular species of ankylosaur otherwise known by its classification name, Zuul crurivastator. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the researchers borrowed the name Zuul from the monster in the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters.”
The dinosaur’s full name translates as Zuul, the destroyer of flutes, which is thought to have been the club-like tail of the ankylosaurus, an enemy of the tyrannosaurs and other predators that walked on their upright legs.
These tails are up to 10 feet (3 meters) long, with rows of sharp spikes along the sides. The top of the tail is supported by bony structures, making a club that could be wielded with the force of a nigger.
The skull and tail were the first parts of the fossil to emerge in 2017 from a dig site in the northern Judith Mountain Institute, and paleontologists worked for years to free the remaining fossil from 35,000 pounds of sandstone. The fossil is so well preserved that remnants of skin and bony armor remain on the dinosaur’s back and sides, giving it a very life-like appearance.
This ankylosaurus was mostly seen collapsing at the very end of its life, with spikes around its hips and the tips of its sides missing. Sustained by these injuries, a much duller mouth was healed.
Due to the location on the body, investigators do not believe the injuries were caused by a predatory attack. But the shape is similar to the effect of receiving strong blows from another club of the tail of an ankylosaur.
“I’ve been looking at how ankylosaurs use tail clubs for years and this is a really exciting new puzzle,” lead author Dr. said study lead Victoria Arbor, curator of paleontology at the British Columbia Regional Museum in Victoria, Canada. in the constitution.
“We know that ankylosaurs could use their tail clubs to deliver powerful blows to their opponents, but most people thought that they used their tail clubs to fight off predators. Instead, ankylosaurs like Zuul may have been fighting each other.”
The tree suggested a hypothesis that ankylosaurs might have taken over their behavior years ago, but fossil evidence of injuries was needed – and ankylosaur fossils are rare.
Super Zuul crurivastador fossils helped to fill the knowledge gap.
The fact that the skin and armor are preserved in place is like a snapshot of how Zuul looked when he was alive. And the injuries sustained by Zuul during its lifetime tell us how it behaved and interacted with other animals in its earliest environment,” said study coauthor Dr. David Evans, Temerty Chair and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, in a statement.
The Zuul fossil is now kept in the vertebrate collection of the Royal Ontario Museum of Fossils.
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