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Qilong's avatar

The Morrison Gargoyle

Part 4 of my Morrison Ornithischians Series.

One of the few ankylosaur species from the Morrison Formation, Gargoyleosaurus parkpinorum is an especially ornate one with preserved premaxillary dentition, a suggestion that the upper rostrum likely didn't have a beak, and which supposes that the upper beak has evolved multiple times in not such Ornithischia, but also Thyreophora, convergent with stegosaurs.

Ankylosaurs, despite being herbivores, were probably much more akin to dragons in appearance than any theropod, covered as they were in bony armor.

I should remind viewers that the reconstruction is hypothetical, it is not based on strict observation, but a projection from several soft-tissue markers and inference from the phylogenetic bracket. It is possible there was a muscle-less, soft-tissue "cheek" there, too, but as there is no fossil that yet supports this through direct observation (like a mummy), we are left with using the least speculation to resolve the morphology.

I mention more on this here: [link]
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MrGorsh's avatar
The lower jaw having a much more extensive beak kind of reminds me of Silesaurus :P For some reason I don't find the cheekless ornithischians that much convincing but I guess it all goes down to the same argument like good old "only theropods had non-scaly integument", just with nodosaurs being the example on the scene. :)
Qilong's avatar
It's an interesting test of the argument, and whether they (nodosaurs) have anything to do with "cheeks" in general. It is quite possible they were doing something entirely novel on their own.
Kazuma27's avatar
Forgot to fave it when you post it, well, i fave it now ;)
Qilong's avatar
You don't have to fave it at all! Just ... if ya want to.
MattMart's avatar
Beak restricted to the small toothless tip of the pre maxilla! Yes!
Qilong's avatar
Well, there's three ways I can go with that. First, I can make it a full "lip" rather than "split" the oral ligament to either side. Second, I can just shove a beak in the middle, and split the ligament. Or ... I can go with the bone, which suggests the tip of the rostrum was coated in a cornified pad or boss, so with neither "beaky" nor "lippy." I lean to the latter, but suggest a harder, rhamphothecal model. Note, though, that it is difficult for me to easily show a "beak" as compared to a "lip" where the vertical lines represent labial squamation, which is the case here.
Julio-Lacerda's avatar
I quite enjoyed de cheekless look on this one. :)
Qilong's avatar
Yes ... I was holding this illustration off for a month while getting to writing on my blog about the reconstruction ... because it's a bit unique.
TheArchosaurQueen's avatar
A beautiful Thyreophoran bust sir :clap:. Ornithopods need more love anyways, because Theropods get mountains of it.
marcoornithodira's avatar
Whoa that looks pretty absurd :) Very good drawing.
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