NEW SPINY DINO DISCOVERY

By Patti Carpenter, Natural History Museum of Utah

Fossils of a new genus and species of an ankylosaurid dinosaur—Akainacephalus johnsoni—have been unearthed in the Kaiparowits Formation of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Kane County, southern Utah, and are revealing new details about the diversity and evolution of this group of armored dinosaurs. Expected to look like other North American Late Cretaceous ankylosaurid dinosaurs with smooth bony armor on the skull, the new research suggests just the opposite and indicates that the defining features of Akainacephalus, specifically the spiky bony armor covering the skull and snout, align more closely with Asian ankylosaurids, who also have more pronounced spikes covering their skulls.

Watch the video to learn more about the discovery:

Come see Akainacephalus johnsoni at the museum.

Watch its installation in this timelapse:

Banner image credit: Andrey Atuchin and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science