STL Science Center

STL Science Center

30 September 2016

Ankylosaurus- The Body

Postcranial remains of Ankylosaurus are known but the focus of many of the descriptions of the postcranial elements is the osteoderm armor and the massive clubs that constitutes the caudal end of the tail. Armors gave the dinosaur its name and the postcranial armor of the dinosaur is extensive. The armor started on the cervical vertebrae with half rings of armored bone. The ribs of Ankylosaurus were wide and strong to hold the soft tissues of the gut. Superficial to the ribs there are osteoderm plates that constitute the external armor scutes. These osteoderms are unique to individuals and have the potential scars to prove that they were effective; not all of the fossil remains recovered have pathological issues and that statement is more based on things that could be possible than things that are known for sure. The osteoderms continue caudally along the body and onto the tail where the final two osteoderms are expanded into a club. The club even has a handle; the seven caudal-most vertebrae are ossified and bound by ossified tendons to create an immobile base for the oversized osteoderms of the club.
Dorsal view of AMNH Ankylosaurus

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