Ankylosaurus were slow and hard of hearing

(ORDO NEWS) — “Armored” animals from the Cretaceous, according to scientists from Austria and Germany, were slow and had poor hearing.

Ankylosaurus is a genus of extinct herbivorous reptiles. They possessed thick and durable armor, a powerful body was seated with bone plates and spikes, and on the tail there was a growth similar to a club. It was a very large animal – about the size of a rhinoceros. Its body length reached from five and a half to nine meters. The creature was squat and stocky.

The ankylosaurus family includes the so-called nodosaurids that lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods in the territory of modern North America, Asia, Australia, Antarctica and Europe. Elongated bone spines located on the neck and shoulders distinguished them from the “classic” ankylosaurs.

Despite such an impressive appearance, the ankylosaurs were probably slow and, in addition, hard of hearing. This conclusion was made by scientists from Greifswald (Germany) and Vienna (Austria) universities.

They presented their findings in Scientific Report . Using computed tomography, paleontologists have studied the remains of a representative of nodosaurids – Struthiosaurus austriacus, who lived in Austria about 80 million years ago.

The specimen under study has been kept at the Institute of Paleontology in Vienna since the 19th century. The uniqueness of the find is that it preserved the fossilized meninges of the lizard, which once housed the brain and other neurosensory tissues.

Such fossils are extremely rare, and their study allows you to learn more about the lifestyle and behavior of the ancient inhabitants of our planet.

While many dinosaurs are now known to have lived in groups, ankylosaurs (at least some of them) seem to have a preference for solitude. According to scientists, this was due to the creatures’ poor hearing. This idea prompted the researchers to study a cast of the brain of a dinosaur .

After analyzing the cranium of a nodosaurid, paleontologists found that the creature’s brain was similar to the brain of its closest relatives. At the same time, part of it – the flocculus – was small in the struthiosaurus, and it is this region of the brain that is associated with fixation of the gaze during the movement of the head and neck.

The shape of the semicircular canals of the inner ear also indicates that the Austrian Ankylosaurus was rather slow. And the shortest lagens among all dinosaurs – the ends of the spiral of the cochlea of ​​the inner ear – showed that Struthiosaurus austriacus, most likely, had poor hearing.


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