Reading time: 2′
It was known that armored ankylosaurs lived on the northern continents. But this thesis is no longer valid now, after that A British researcher revealed About a fossil of this type from Morocco. The researchers note that the remains found are the first of their kind in Africa and the oldest.
The date of this fossil was determined between 167 and 163 million years. Although Dr. Susanna Maidment, a researcher at the British Museum of Natural History, obtained the fossil from a fossil dealer in Cambridge in 2019 and named it Spicomellus afer, this fossil dates back to the site of Boulahfa in the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the same site where researchers from the same museum discovered the oldest Stegosaurus ever found.
Introducing Spicomellus afer, the world’s oldest ankylosaur and the first from Africa! The specimen comprises dermal armour fused to a rib, a totally weird morphology, unlike anything else living or extinct. https://t.co/3QhrZUZ6di Vid by @vinfernand pic.twitter.com/JCQgThtyYO
— Dr Susie Maidment (@Tweetisaurus) September 23, 2021
“Ankylosaurus is well known from the Cretaceous period, especially from North America and from Asia, and we know a whole bunch of different species but this is completely different from all of those,” Maidment said. This is a really strange shape.
An extraordinary new dinosaur from Morocco is the oldest ankylosaur ever discovered and the first to be found on the African continent.
But it also had bony spikes fused from its ribs, a feature not seen in any other vertebrate species living or extinct.https://t.co/MTuIoxbe25
— Natural History Museum (@NHM_London) September 23, 2021
Ankylosaurs are known to have a series of bony plates and spines in their skin. However, the new fossil shows long spines attached directly to the bone which Dr Maidment described as “unusual”.
The British researcher added, “This fossil has spikes and a bony plate embedded in a rib, so it is firmly attached to the rib and cannot be separated. This is really strange. We haven’t seen this in any other Ankylosaurus and in fact we don’t see it in any other vertebra that we know, alive or dead. “.
She confirmed that prior to this discovery, there were no Ankylosaurus fossils from Africa at all, and Maidment expressed her hope to visit the site and said that if the search continued, “we will be able to find more of this skeleton because it is somewhat fragmented at the moment.”