REASON 27 TO VISIT #ULTIMATEDINOS: ABELISAURIDS!
Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants of Godwana, is all about the incredible dino diversity of the Southern Hemisphere, and in many cases, theropod dinosaurs.
Up here in the North, we’re mostly exposed to the carnivores that lived in our (figurative) backyards, like Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus. But they weren’t the only GIANT predators that lived in the mesozoic world. Going South we find other incredible beasts, and in this example, the abelisaurids!
- Abelisaurids are characterized by their INCREDIBLY short arms. In fact, their arms may have been vestigial structures (meaning body parts that have lost their original function) and just not have used them, like emus today.
- Abelisaurids also had rather short skulls and often had some sort of boney horn. The way their head is structured, abeilsaurids may have simply grabbed onto their prey and not let go, letting them struggle to death. They just had that strong a bite.
- Their horns may have been used for identification or for finding mates, or just for looking awesome and fierce.
- Abelisaurids have have been found in Argentina (Carnotaurus) and Madagascar (Majungasaurus), as well as other southern locals.
- Above we have two of the most FAMOUS abeilsaurids, Carnotaurus and Majungasaurus. Carnotaurus is by far one of the easiset dinosaurs to identify, considering the bull like horns. Majungasaurus has one boney horn on top of his head, and has a great sounding name.
- Carnotaurus is famous not for just being one of the most recognizable abelisaurids, but also because it was one of the first theropods found with skin impressions. The trace fossil indicated that Carnotaurus had scaly skin, covered in places with dermal skutes.
- There’s evidence that Majungasaurus may have even engaged in cannibalistic behaviour! I mean, when you see Majungasaurus tooth marks on other Majungasaurus fossils, you start to wonder!
I find abelisaurids fascinating for the obviously funny reasons: the small arms (being real, I’ve had turkey legs at Thanksgiving that are bigger than the arms on these fellas) and the short snouts. But I also find them, weirdly maybe, incredibly beautiful. Sometimes, in the shadows of the exhibit at the right angle, you don’t see the shape of their arms, and it almost looks like a giant, stocky snake on two legs. There’s something about the form of our Carnotaurus that is so fluid. I would have loved to have seen them in real life.
Check out these links to learn more about the incredible abelisaurids! And make sure to click the images above for more details!
- Need a Hand? Don’t Ask an Abelisaurid by Brian Switek
- Why Did Carnotaurus Have Such Wimpy Arms? by Brian Switek
- Butch tail made Carnotaurus a champion dinosaur sprinter by Ed Yong
Have you visited? What’s your favourite part of #ultimatedinos?
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