Armored dinosaur with spiky head unveiled at Utah museum

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A life reconstruction of the head of the new armored dinosaur Akainacephalus johnsoni, which lived 76 million years ago in Utah, U.S. is seen in this image provided July 19, 2018. (REUTERS)
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This undated photo from the Natural History Museum of Utah shows the heavily ornamented skull of an ankylosaur, a squat plant-eater that was covered in bony armor from its spiky head to its clubbed tail, before its unveiling at the museum in Salt Lake City. (AP)
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In this July 19, 2018 photo, a fresh mount of new fossils of a new genus and species of ankylosaur dubbed Akainacephalus johnsoni are displayed at the Natural History Museum of Utah, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (AP)
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In this July 19, 2018 photo, volunteer Randy Johnson, left, and Randy Irmis, paleontology curator at the Natural History Museum of Utah, pose next to a fresh mount of new fossils of a new genus and species of ankylosaur dubbed Akainacephalus johnsoni in Salt Lake City, Utah. (AP)
Updated 21 July 2018
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Armored dinosaur with spiky head unveiled at Utah museum

  • Paleontologists believe the animals migrated to North America several times over the eons when lowered sea levels allowed them to cross a land bridge
  • The fossil was discovered on the Kaiparowits Formation, a thick layer of sandstone that also has vast coal reserves inside a sprawling national monument

SALT LAKE CITY: A dinosaur that was covered in bony armor from its spiky head to its clubbed tail has been unveiled at a museum in Utah.
The species of ankylosaur was a squat plant-eater that roamed southern Utah on four legs about 76 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous Period. At that time, the desert state was hot and humid, covered with slow-moving streams and rivers as well as large conifer trees, paleontologist Randall Irmis said.
It was about as long as a large alligator and stood at a height that would have been about waist-high for a tall human. It likely used its distinctive clubbed tail and armor for protection, though they could also have been used for display.
The fossil unveiled Thursday at the Natural History Museum of Utah was first discovered in 2008 in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a rich dinosaur repository in southern Utah.
The fossil was discovered on the Kaiparowits Formation, a thick layer of sandstone that also has vast coal reserves inside a sprawling national monument that was one of two President Donald Trump ordered downsized last year. The spot where the fossil was found remains within Grand Staircase-Escalante boundaries, though areas that are now outside the boundaries also have fossil potential, Irmis said.
Researchers were expecting it to have smooth bony armor on its skull like other North American ankylosaurs, but were surprised to find evidence that it instead had spiky armor on its head and snout, similar to fossils found in Asia.
Paleontologists believe the animals migrated to North America several times over the eons when lowered sea levels allowed them to cross a land bridge.
The species was dubbed Akainacephalus johnsoni to recognize Randy Johnson, a retired chemist and museum volunteer who spent hundreds of hours painstakingly freeing the skull from rock and debris.
Along with a complete skull, the fossil also includes the distinctive tail club, large parts of its spinal vertebral column and parts of its body armor, including two neck rings and spiked armor plates, the museum said in a statement.


42 weeks pregnant, New Zealand minister cycles to hospital

In this Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, Instagram photo released by New Zealand’s Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter, Genter poses with her partner Peter Nunns in Auckland, New Zealand. (AP)
Updated 14 min 26 sec ago
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42 weeks pregnant, New Zealand minister cycles to hospital

  • Genter announced that she’d given birth Tuesday evening to a healthy boy weighing nearly 4.3 kilograms
  • Ardern is admired by many working women around the world

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: It was a beautiful morning, according to New Zealand’s minister for women, so after 42 weeks of pregnancy she decided to hop on her electric bicycle and ride to the hospital to give birth to her first child.
Julie Anne Genter this week posted a picture of herself outside the Auckland City Hospital holding her bike, saying she was ready to be induced and “finally have this baby.”
“This is it, wish us luck!” she wrote, adding that “My partner and I cycled because there wasn’t enough room in the car for the support crew ... but it also put me in the best possible mood!“
Genter announced that she’d given birth Tuesday evening to a healthy boy weighing nearly 4.3 kilograms (9.5 pounds).
“We waited a very long time for labor to start, but when it did it was short and sharp,” she wrote on Facebook.
She was congratulated on Twitter by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who gave birth to a daughter, Neve, two months ago.
“So pleased to hear of the safe arrival of the newest addition to the parliamentary play group,” Ardern wrote. “Hope you enjoy those very special first few days.”
Genter’s ride to the hospital made news around the world, and her Instagram photo was noticed by actress Kristen Bell, who wrote on Twitter “what a babe.”
Genter, 38, wrote that the ride with partner Peter Nunns was “mostly downhill” and joked that she “probably should have cycled more in the last few weeks,” in order to start her labor earlier.
Ardern, 38, was just the second elected world leader in modern times to give birth while holding office, after late Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave birth to daughter Bakhtawar in 1990.
Ardern is admired by many working women around the world. She and Genter gave birth at the same public hospital.
Genter was born in Minnesota and graduated from U.C. Berkeley before moving to New Zealand in 2006. A member of the liberal Green Party, Genter is also associate minister for transport and a strong advocate for cycling.
The Green Party tweeted that her ride to the hospital was “the most #onbrand thing ever.”
Genter said she wasn’t planning on cycling home from the hospital and instead would ride in an electric car with her mother and her baby, while other relatives would ride the bikes home.
“I cycled to the hospital for the joy of it!” she wrote on Facebook, adding that she “knew it may be last ride for a few weeks.”