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Minotaurasaurus
Fossil range: Late Cretaceous
Minotaurasaurus BW
Scientific classification

Class

Sauropsida

Superorder

Dinosauria

Order

Ornithischia

Infraorder

Ankylosauria

Family

Ankylosauridae

Genus

Minotaurasaurus
C. A. Miles & C. J. Miles, 2009

Species

  • M. ramachandrani (type)


Minotaurasaurus ("man-bull reptile") is a genus of extinct ankylosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period of Mongolia. The type specimen of which this genus is based upon was described in 2009.

HistoryEdit

The type specimen, M. ramachandrani, was named in 2009 by Clifford A. Miles and Clark J. Miles. The generic name is explained by the describers as meaning "man-bull reptile"; the specific epithet honors Vilayanur S. Ramachandran who purchased the fossil for $10,000 from the trader Hollis Butts, based in Japan, and made it available to science. It is known only from a complete skull of unknown provenance, but probably recovered from the Gobi Desert. While it had a distinctive armored bull-like head and a more primitive braincase, it shares the typical features of an ankylosaurid.[1]

MaterialEdit

Minotaurasaurus is known only from a complete skull (INBR21004) of unknown provenance, however, by analyzing the matrix that surrounded the original skull, it was determined to be most likely from the Gobi Desert.[1]

SkullEdit

Minotaurasaurusskulls4

Annotated image of various views of the skull.

While it had a distinctive armored bull-like head and a more primitive braincase, it shares the typical features of an ankylosaurid.[1]

CT scanning has revealed that bony nodules located on the surface of the skull are not osteoderms, as previously thought, but remodeled bone.[note 1] However, several other bony knobs have been discovered on the specimen that have been identified as partially-fused osteoderms.[1] Miles (2009) have noted that "The narial osteoderms are large and highly ornamented to the extent that they create a flared look, projecting anteriorly and laterally, giving the skull a bull-like appearance."[1]

The braincase is noticeably more primitive compared to other ankylosaurs recovered from the Gobi Desert.[2]

The maximum length of the skull is recorded at 30 cm, and other measurements of the skull have led paleontologists (Miles, 2009) to extrapolate the length of Minotaurasaurus at 4.2 meters.[1] However, Miles (2009) has also noted there are unfused osteoderms present in the fossil, leading the researchers to believe that the creature was not fully grown when it had died.[1]

TeethEdit

Minotaurasaurusteeth1

Teeth

The type specimen's teeth are leaf-shaped with vertical striations that split the crown into 8 cusps, similar to the teeth of other ankylosaurs. There are a total of 64 teeth in the skull.

See alsoEdit

  • CT Scanning: This skull is one of many fossils that has been analyzed using Computer Tomography scans.
  • Saichania and Pinacosaurus: The skull of Minotaurasaurus shows an interesting blend of characteristics that are also seen in these two ankylosaurs.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Many paleontologists have suggested that the fused cranial armor that most ankylosaurs have is remoddled surface bone. See Carpenter, K. (ed.), Phylogenetic analysis of the Ankylosauria. In The Armored Dinosaurs, Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, 2001, pp. 455–483. and Vickaryous, M. K., Russell, A. P. and Currie, P. J., The cranial ornamentation of ankylosaurs (Ornithischia: Thyreophora): re-appraisal of developmental hypotheses. In The Armored Dinosaurs (ed. Carpenter, K.), Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, 2001, pp. 318–340.

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Miles, Clifford A.; and Miles, Clark J. (2009). "Skull of Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani, a new Cretaceous ankylosaur from the Gobi Desert". Current Science 96 (1): 65-70. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/jan102009/65.pdf. 
  2. ^ "Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani". Fred Bervoets. Miles, C.A. & Miles, C.J. (2009). 2009. http://www.dinodata.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9993&Itemid=103. Retrieved on 2009-04-27. 

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