In a southern and sparsely populated area of Chile, scientists excavated the skeletal stays of a naturally armored dinosaur that lived over 70 million years in the past, in the course of the late Cretaceous interval. Much to the crew’s shock, they discovered it possessed a moderately weird function: a knife-like artillery instead of a tail.
Although they echo beings straight out of fantasy novels, armored dinosaurs are a widely known crew. Ranging from the sharply adorned Kentosaurus to the curvy backed Hesperosaurus, paleontologists have already studied a protracted checklist of the bodily shielded animals. But this new member of the warrior-like troop of beings piqued researchers’ curiosity due to its specialised armament that would’ve as soon as sliced by enemies.
The historic herbivore “evolved a large tail weapon unlike any dinosaur,” the crew stated concerning the discovery in a report revealed Wednesday within the journal Nature. The dinosaur’s oddly formed bottom is embellished with a whopping seven pairs of bony deposits fused collectively, emulating precise blades.
“It was an animal with a proportionally large head and a narrow snout with a beak,” Sergio Soto Acuña, lead creator of the research and a doctoral scholar on the University of Chile stated. “However, the most notable feature is the caudal weapon: the posterior half of the tail is enclosed in a structure made up of fused bony plates that give the tail a very strange appearance.”
The crew dubbed the 2-meter (about 6-foot-6-inch) lengthy species Stegouros elengassen because of the remainder of its physique resembling the Stegosaurus genus — aka Spike from The Land Before Time. Later, intensive DNA evaluation and cranial examination revealed the animal to be extra carefully associated to a dinosaur group known as Ankylosaurs, however the crew determined to maintain the preliminary identify.
“I think this finding radically changes what we thought about the evolution of armored dinosaurs in the southern hemisphere,” Acuńa stated. “Our results show that they were not simple dispersal events of northern Ankylosaurs, but rather that they were a very ancient branch of primitive Ankylosaurs that evolved in isolation from other armored dinosaurs.”
He stated that one of the vital shocking outcomes about this discovery was the revelation of a completely new lineage of Southern Hemisphere armored dinosaurs that had advanced its personal posterior weaponry — independently of plated dinosaurs, or Stegosaurs, and densely armored dinosaurs, or Euankylosaurs.
Presumably, the harmful appendage was used to defend in opposition to predators. But both approach, Acuña provides, “This shows us that the fossil record of the Gondwanan continents can still have unexpected surprises for us.”