Recently, scientists have excavated the skeletal remains of a naturally armored dinosaur that is said to have lived over 70 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.
The discovery was made in the southern region of Chile and the dinosaur species is said to have possessed an interesting yet bizarre feature which is knife-like artillery in place of a tail.
Paleontologists have already studied long-list naturally shielded animals even though there have been numerous fantasy-inspired armored dinosaurs such as Kentosauraus and Hesperosaurus.
However, there is just something interesting about this newly unearthed species that researchers believe its armament could’ve sliced through its enemies once.
Another interesting thing is the fact that the newly discovered dinosaur was herbivorous despite the weapon on its tail.
The team that made the discovery also published their report on Wednesday in the Journal Nature. The dinosaur’s oddly shaped backside is decorated with a whopping seven pairs of bony deposits fused together, emulating actual blades.
The two-meter-long species is dubbed Stegouros Elengassen due to the rest of its body’s resemblance to that of Stegosaurus which is often referred to as Spike from the Land Before Time.
Also, extensive DNA analysis and cranial examination further showed the animal is more closely related to a dinosaur family called Ankylosaurus.
However, “Unlike the Ankylosaurs of the northern hemisphere, our new dinosaur possesses light armor, slender legs, and a smaller size,” Sergio Soto Acuña, lead author of the study and a doctoral student at the University of Chile, told CNN, comparing the tail to that of a rattlesnake.
Since the animal is an herbivore, its tail is definitely used for protection rather than hunting. According to Alex Vargas who is the co-author of the study and a University of Chile paleontologist, “it’s a really unusual weapon.”
“Books on prehistoric animals for kids need to update and put this weird tail in there … It just looks crazy.”