Armored Dinosaurs May Have Dug Hollows To Protect Themselves

Ankylosaurids were among the heaviest armored Cretaceous dinosaurs. However, it seems that not all-protective plating was their only defense, with evidence that family members were already qualified to dig up the protected gaps. For many mammals the old digging was a successful move, we can expect that some dinosaurs would also go down that path.

In fact, the ecosystem often benefits from digging species, whether it is providing a source of water during the dry season – no fetuses have found – or when the echidna refreshes the soil. However, evidence that dinosaurs adopted similar niches is rare. Dr. Yuong-Nam Lee of Seoul National University examined a sample from the Baruungoyot formation in Mongolia and found an arch shape of the bone of his front foot suitable for removing the earth. 

The specimen, who has a more irrational designation than the name, like many famous dinosaur fossils, discovered in the 1970s, but has not yet examined in detail. Compared to most of the MPC-D100 / 1359, its hindfeet had a few fused vertebrae and fewer bones. These maximized its ability to hold the ground, for example if it needed to be firmly planet on its hind legs and dug violently. Not all of this means that the MPC-D100 / 1359 were the equivalent of modern day moles or meerkats, heavily coastal living species.

In scientific reports, Lee and co-authors suggest that some Asian enclosures were able to dig for roots or groundwater, and that they could dig a few holes to protect their risk bottoms, which make them harder to invert when hunted by predators. Although the ankylosaurs was a very close relative of the best-preserved non-avian dinosaurs we have found, most of the nine described Mongolian species known only from the skull. The MPC-D 100/1359 on the other hand has an unusually full torso. Ribs, vertebrae, sternal plates, bones of limbs and skin armor have found, although there is no sign of head or tail.

Some theropod was a mixture of fingers and toes, but it not known whether these two animals killed each other in an epic battle or died at different times. Despite this unusual wealth, Lee and co-authors cannot confidently match the MPC-D100 / 1359 with any ankylosaurs named after their skulls. It could be a new species, or it could be an existing number. The trunk of the MPC-D100/1359 was two meters (7 feet) long, so allowing the normal ankylosaur proportions, about 5 meters (16.4 feet) from nose to tail.

There was earlier speculation as to whether the Ankylosaur had excavated, but some archaeologists rejected the idea because of their size. However, the paper has achieved similar proportions (minus isolated) to larger ground slots and considered a strong digger.