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.


Streets of Pakistan lined with pictures of Saudi Crown Prince

Updated 33 min 21 sec ago
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Streets of Pakistan lined with pictures of Saudi Crown Prince

The streets of Pakistan were lined with pictures of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince in preparation of his reception on Saturday.

Pakistan was rescheduling flights, blocking off luxury hotels and, according to one report on Friday, collecting 3,500 pigeons and colorful balloons to release during a welcome ceremony for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Banners heralding the crown prince were already lining the streets of the capital on Friday, while the Express Tribune newspaper reported that authorities were trying to catch so many pigeons for a welcome ceremony that they were forced to collect birds from other cities.

The crown prince is expected to sign a range of agreements worth up to $15 billion, including deals for three power plants in Pakistan’s Punjab province and an oil refinery and petrochemical complex in the coastal city of Gwadar in Balochistan province.