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Ankylosauria

From Academic Kids

Ankylosauria

Conservation status: Fossil

Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Archosauria
Superorder:Dinosauria
Order:Ornithischia
(unranked)Thyreophora
Suborder:Ankylosauria
Families

Ankylosauridae
Nodosauridae

The Ankylosauria, less formally known as the ankylosaurians, were a group of ornithischian ("bird-hipped") dinosaurs that lived in the late Cretaceous period. They are characterised by bony plates, which protected them against predators.

There have been found on every continent except Africa. The first dinosaur ever discovered in Antarctica was a nodosaurid recovered from Ross Island in 1986.

Ankylosauria was first described by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1923. In the Linnaean classification system, the group is usually considered a suborder or an infraorder. It is contained within the group Thyreophora, which also includes the stegosaurians. Thyreophora is either considered a suborder, or is left unranked.

Ankylosauria is split into two families, Nodosauridae (the nodosaurids) and Ankylosauridae (the ankylosaurids). The big difference is that ankylosaurids have bony clubs at the end of their tails, which nodosaurids lack.

The nodosaurids were earlier and more primitive. They had narrow heads, and frequently had large spikes protruding from their bodies. This group traditionally includes Nodosaurus, Hylaeosaurus, and Polacanthus, but the latter may share a more recent common ancestor with ankylosaurids.

The ankylosaurids are from later in the Cretaceous. They had much wider bodies, and thicker armor. They have even been discovered with bony eyelids. The large clubs at the end of their tails were swung at predators. This family included Ankylosaurus, Euoplocephalus, and Pinacosaurus.

A simplified version of one possible evolutionary tree (cladogram) follows:

  • Ornithischia (the "bird hipped" dinosaurs)
    • Thyreophora (armored herbivores)
      • Stegosauria (spikes or plates down their back)
      • Ankylosauria (the tanks)
        • Nodosauridae (no tail clubs)
          • Edmontoniinae (might also include Panoplosaurinae)
          • Panoplosaurinae
        • Ankylosauridae (tail clubs)de:Ankylosauria

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