STL Science Center

STL Science Center

12 April 2014

Real Southwestern Animal Attitude

Museum of Natural History (Public Domain Release by Photographer)
Desmatosuchus from any angle looks like a pretty tough animal. The plating along the entire back of the animal from neck to tail is a defensive bulwark that likely made Desmatosuchus nearly impregnable from above. Like all half-armored animals, however, the underbelly was a great deal softer than this protective sheath of armor above was. To protect that underbelly, in addition to the strong dorsal plating, large spines protruded from the pectoral area of the dorsal plating. Spines like these are often depicted in popular outlets as offensive weapons wielded against predators hunting the animal possessing them. Pectoral spikes of this magnitude could be used as offensive weapons if the occasion warranted such action, but it is likely that Desmatosuchus used them as a deterrent effecting threat displays and swinging them, and its entire upper body as an effect, only as a last resort.

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