Looking like reptilian armadillos, or prehistoric tanks, Ankylosaurs were heavily armoured dinosaurs with protective plates over their head and shoulders. Some species took their protection to extremes and even had armoured eyelids. Spikes and protrusions were common in a bid to deter predators from taking a bite. Some ankylosaurs had a large, heavy club at the end of the tail for wielding as a weapon or, as has also been suggested, for sexual selection. To carry the weight of all this heavy armour, these plant-eating dinosaurs had very short, stout legs.
Scientific name: Ankylosauria
A recreated encounter between Tarbosaurus and a tail-clubbing Ankylosaur.
Dr Phil Manning of the Museum of Manchester talks about a working model of an Ankylosaur tail club built by special effects experts Dave Payne and John Pennicott. The tail model smashes through a log of wood - giving a reasonable estimation of what it could do to the leg bone of an attacking Tarbosaurus.
A fossil cast provides evidence that Ankylosaurs used their tails as weapons.
Ankylosaur expert Dr Ken Carpenter of the Denver Museum analyses a tail fossil cast to work out whether Ankylosaurs used their tails as weapons.
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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
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Ankylosauria is a group of herbivorous dinosaurs of the order Ornithischia. It includes the great majority of dinosaurs with armor in the form of bony osteoderms. Ankylosaurs were bulky quadrupeds, with short, powerful limbs. They are first known to have appeared in the early Jurassic Period of China, and persisted until the end of the Cretaceous Period. They have been found on every continent except Africa. The first dinosaur ever discovered in Antarctica was the ankylosaurian Antarctopelta, fossils of which were recovered from Ross Island in 1986.
Ankylosauria was first described by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1923. In the Linnaean classification system, the group is usually considered either a suborder or an infraorder. It is contained within the group Thyreophora, which also includes the stegosaurs, armored dinosaurs known for their combination of plates and spikes.
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