Ankylosaurus

If you were to compare Ankylosaurus, the largest dinosaur among the herbivore dinosaurs, you can just imagine those armoured cars. This type of dinosaur is slow-moving in nature, low-slung, and has a thick body covering that is almost impenetrable exactly like armour. The Greek name Ankylosaurus refers to a “stiffened lizard” or “fused lizard”. It has the length of 25 to 35 feet, height of 4 feet at its hips, and weight of 3 to 4 tons, this is herbivore dinosaur’ largest dinosaur.

Here are more interesting facts about these dinosaurs:

Early 20th Century Discovery

Ankylosaurus fossil was discovered in 1906 by the renowned palaeontologist Barnum Brown in the formation of Hell Creek, Montana, USA. He was able to unearth several other remains of this herbivore largest dinosaur as well as fossilized armour pieces scattered around the area which he referred to as Dynamosaurus.

Osteoderms Comprises the Ankylosaurus’ Armor

You will easily distinguish this dinosaur for its hard, knobby armor that covers its head, long neck, back, and all through its tail. The armor was composed of scutes or osteoderm, which were deeply rooted bone plates but not connected with the rest of its skeleton. It is likewise covered by thickly keratin layer, the one and same protein which can be found in human hair as well.

Unusual Small Brain size For Its Gigantic Body

You may think that for its hugeness, its brain would be the same but no. Ankylosaurus has an unusually tiny brain and it is the least smart among all dinosaurs. This could be because these armored yet slow plant eater dinosaurs require no defensive strategy as compared to carnivore dinosaurs that always fight their way for food.

Ankylosaurus Existed in Tropical Climate

A humid, warm, almost tropical climate is what the western part of the United States has 65 Million years back, late in cretaceous period. When you think about the massiveness of its body as well as the environment Ankylosaurus habituated, it is most likely that this herbivore largest dinosaur possessed ametabolism similar to the cold-blooded animals which enabled it to be out in the hat during the day and slowly dissipate it at night.

One of the Lasts to Go Extinct

The supposed cold-blooded metabolism and it’s almost impenetrable armor empowered the Ankylosaurus to better withstand the K/T Extinction Event than other dinosaurs. The disappearance of ferns and trees these tame dinosaurs were accustomed to eating resulted to its population slowly dying until its extinction millions of years ago.

Ankylosaurus and similar dinosaurs were found across the globe – herbivorous dinosaurs’ widespread family, ankylosaurs, were discovered all over across every continent in the world except Africa. Although its evolutionary relationship with all other armored dinosaurs is disputable, the possibility of their similarities may be due to convergence of evolution.

This herbivore largest dinosaur may have been extinct millions of years ago but some people still don’t know how Ankylosaurus is pronounced. There are two ways to pronounce it: one is by stressing on its 1st syllable just like palaeontologists do, ANK-ill-oh-SORE-us. And the other is by putting the stress on its 2nd syllable, ank-EYE-low-SORE-us. Either way, you are right.

Shantungosaurus Giganteus

Shantungosaurus Giganteus is considered as the largest hadrosaur or those dinosaurs with snouts like that of a duck that has ever walked the Earth during the Late Cretaceous Period. This behemoth was estimated to have weighed 15 tons and 50 feet in length. The diet of this dinosaur is mostly plants which were defined by its long and flat beak.

Fossils of this herbivorous dinosaur were found in Shandong Peninsula’s Wangshi Formation in China. Those fossilized remains that were recovered in the Shandong Peninsula include vertebrae, limb bones ad skull bones. This dinosaur was first described in 1973, Chinese paleontologist Xing Xu and colleagues indicated that this plant eating behemoth shares a lot of unique characteristics and is very similar to the Edmontosaurus. And in 2007, the recovered specimens in Shadong were classified as the new genus as well as species Zhuchengosaurus maximus. But further studies about the 2007 development revealed that the allegedly distinct characteristics of the Zhuchengosaurus are just a result of the different stages in the growth of Shantungosaurus Giganteus.

Shantungosaurus Giganteus is one of the largest and longest known hadrosaurids. A skeleton of this dinosaur which was displayed at the Geological Institute of Chine in Beijing showed that the length of the Shantungosaurus measures 14.72 meters and its skull is 1.63 meters long. A composite skeleton of this dinosaur measures more than 16 meters, making it the biggest known ornithischian and non-sauropod dinosaur. The long tail of this dinosaur is believed to have served as a balancing medium for its massive weight at their hips. The structure of this dinosaur showed that they walk with their four feet. They also have a very stout limb bones in the back which they need to support their bulking size ad to escape from their enemies.

This dinosaur just like all of the other hadrosaurs has a toothless beak but the jaws were composed of about 1500 small teeth which they use for chewing their food which is plants. Its nostrils have a large hole which is supposedly covered with a flap which they can inflate in order to make a sound. There is no known reason why there is a hole near their nostrils but maybe they use it to communicate with the other Shantungosaurus especially when there is trouble around or to attract a partner during the mating season. The Shantungosaurus Giganteus has also the used sound created by this hole as a means of defending their territory against invaders and hunters.

To date, the complete and assembled skeletal remains of the Shantungosaurus Giganteus are those that were excavated in the Shandong Peninsula in China. The remains of these individuals are those found mixed in one area or fossil bed. The discovery of their fossils is a very good clue about the lifestyle of these gentle giants. Many paleontologists believed that the Shantungosaurus Giganteus have roamed the wooded areas of the eastern Asian region in herds in order to avoid those hungry raptors and tyrannosaurs who crave for their meat. These predators are equipped well with their sharp claws and jaws which make them easy to take down adult Shantungosaurus Giganteus if they hunt in groups.

Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus

The spinosaurus aegyptiacus is a theropod dinosaur that roamed the continent of today’s modern name North Africa. If you have watched all the Jurassic Park movies, you will probably know that this carnivore is the star of the third installment of the flick. It is described as the biggest carnosaur that has ever existed and dominated other dinosaurs. Excavated fossils of this flesh eating animal revealed that it is longer compared to the Gigantosaurus or the mighty T-Rex, but much lighter in built.

Etymology

The meaning of the term spinosaurus is spiny lizard which is derived from its large spines on its back. The length of the spines of this dinosaur is six feet, and was believed that skin membrane covers this spine in order to form a fin which resembles a sail. It is speculated that these spines help in the regulation of the dinosaur’s body temperature. Paleontologists have some evidence suggesting that these spines were collapsible and can be extended.

Discovery of the Spinosaurus

In 1912, the very first complete specimen of the spinosaurus aegyptiacus was discovered by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer in Egypt. But unfortunately, this complete specimen of spinosaurus fossils was destroyed when Munich, Germany was bombed during World War II. Other skeletons of the spinosaurus have been discovered but none of them were as complete as what Stromer has found.

Habitat of the Spinosaurus

Most of the skeletons of this dinosaur were excavated in North Africa, specifically the Sahara Desert. Other reported finds also revealed that they also inhabited South America and Morocco. North Africa was t natural habitat of the spinosaurus aegyptiacus during the Early Cretaceous Period or 100 million ages in the past when the continent still have a tropical climate than today. During the Early Cretaceous Period, Sahara Desert has wetlands, rivers and lakes.

Size of the Spinosaurus

With the excavated skeleton of the spinosaurus aegyptiacus, paleontologists believed that this carnivore have grown to about 40-56 feet or up to 17 meters. The body structure of the spinosaurus has similarities to that of the T-Rex but with some differences. The built of the T-Rex is heavier compared to the spinosaurus which is lightly built and have heavier and longer front arms. This arms structure of the spinosaurus makes them to easily grasp their prey. Other paleontologists content that the dinosaur sometimes walked using its four legs.

Teeth of the Spinosaurus

The snout of the spinosaurus aegyptiacus is long compared to the T-Rex. Teeth which are long and sharply pointed dominate the jaws of this carnivorous dinosaur. Unlike the teeth of the T-Rex which were serrated, Spinosaurus has round and smooth teeth in their jaws. Other paleontologists believed that the spinosaurus aegyptiacus prefers fish on their diet due to the interlocking characteristic of both their lower and upper teeth. Isotope analysis conducted by Romain Amiot and his colleagues on the teeth of the spinosaurus aegyptiacus showed that ratios of oxygen isotopes are present which revealed that the lifestyle of the dinosaur is semiaquatic.