An unusual spiked fossil found at the Bulahfa site in the Middle Atlas mountains in Morocco has been identified
Ankylosaurus were herbivorous dinosaurs known for their armored tank-like bodies and club-shaped tail tips.
Ankylosaurus bone. Credit: Museum of Natural History.
Suzanne Maidment paleontologist, explorer fromThe Museum of Natural History, stated that the existing fossils of ankylosaurs date from the Cretaceous period (145.5 and 65.5 million years ago). However, the new bone is about 165 million years old, which means that it belongs to the Jurassic era. This discrepancy surprised scientists.
Dr. Suzanne Madement at the Natural History Museum (Natural History Museum / Pennsylvania)
“Ankylosaurus are well known from the Cretaceous,especially individuals from North America and Asia, but the fossil is completely different from anything we've seen. This is a new species of ankylosaurus, much older than any other individual. And he also has a very, very strange morphology, - emphasizes the paleontologist. “This fossil is about 165 million years old and is from the Middle Jurassic. We do not have any evidence for the existence of ankylosaurs during this time period. "
Ankylosaurus are characterized by a series of bonyplates and spikes embedded in the skin. However, the new fossil - the first from the African continent - features long spines directly attached to the bone. Scientists have called this morphology, as a minimum, strange.
"We have not seen anything like this in other vertebrae we know, living or dead," concludes paleontologist Suzanne Maidment.
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