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Unusual Stegosaur Species Had Excellent Dermal Armor

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A brand fresh stegosaurian genus and species from the Heart Jurassic epoch has been known from the postcranial stays trace in the Heart Atlas Mountains south of Fès, Morocco.

Top Stories Tamfitronics An artist’s impression of Thyreosaurus atlasicus. Image credit: Sci.News.

An artist’s impression of Thyreosaurus atlasicus. Image credit: Sci.News.

Thyreosaurus atlasicus lived in northern Africa in all places in the Heart Jurassic epoch, approximately 165 million years ago.

The species is closely linked to Dacentrurusa member of the clade Dacentrurinae throughout the thyreophoran dinosaur family Stegosauridae.

“Thyreophora is a various clade of herbivorous ornithischian dinosaurs soundless of stegosaurs, ankylosaurs, and basal forms,” mentioned Dr. Mostafa Oukassou from the Hassan II University of Casablanca and colleagues.

“Thyreophorans keep in mind an large fossil story, spanning from the Decrease Jurassic to the Higher Cretaceous, which is excellent known from well-preserved specimens in Laurasia.”

“In distinction, fossil stays are poorly known and largely partial in Gondwana,” they added.

“In Africa, thyreophorans will were trace since the Early-Heart Jurassic.”

“Stegosaurian physique fossils are documented in the Heart Jurassic of Morocco, the Higher Jurassic of Tanzania and the Decrease Cretaceous of South Africa.”

“African ankylosaurs are represented easiest by Spicomellus afer from the Heart Jurassic of Morocco.”

The disarticulated partial skeleton of Thyreosaurus atlasicus became as soon as trace in the grey marls of the El Mers III Formation in the northern Boulahfa locality, near Boulemane, Heart Atlas of Morocco.

“In 2021, all over a geological mapping mission south of Boulemane, we found a brand fresh site rich in dinosaur stays in the El Mers III Formation,” the paleontologists mentioned.

“This site, named Boulahfa North, is found north of the Boulahfa quarry.”

“The self-discipline material became as soon as soundless over several consecutive self-discipline journeys, and contains a partial postcranial skeleton of a stegosaur that entails dorsal vertebrae and ribs, a limb bone and dermal armor.”

In response to the crew, Thyreosaurus atlasicus had an asymetric new dermal armor, distinctive amongst stegosaurs.

“The dermal armor of Thyreosaurus atlasicus contains thick — up to 4 cm (1.6 inches) — subovate to subrectangular-shaped osteoderms,” the researchers mentioned.

“The asymmetrical texture of their sides, one roughly ornamented with shrimp pits and fiber bundles, the opposite with a well-marked wicked-hatched pattern, is clearly diverse from that seen to this point in other stegosaurs, and ankylosaurs.”

“The bone histology of these osteoderms is paying homage to that of stegosaurian tail spines.”

“It is interpreted that these osteoderms were organized in a recumbent place over the physique of the animal, rather than an erect place.”

Thyreosaurus atlasicus had an estimated physique size of over 6 m (19.7 toes).

“Axial characters show that the specimen belongs to a medium to abundant-sized stegosaur,” the scientists mentioned.

“The holotype corresponds to an adult particular person that did now now not attain its maximum physique size.”

The discovery of Thyreosaurus atlasicus is well-known in notion the evolutionary history of stegosaurs and other thyreophoran dinosaurs.

“The sizzling discoveries of Adraticlite and Thyreosaurus atlasicus present perception into the early evolution of stegosaurs in the Heart Jurassic of Africa,” the authors concluded.

The findings seem in the journal Gondwana Overview.


Omar Zafaty et al. 2024. A brand fresh stegosaurian dinosaur (Ornithischia: Thyreophora) with a excellent dermal armour from the Heart Jurassic of North Africa. Gondwana Overview 131: 344-362; doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2024.03.009


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