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Qilong's avatar

Woolly Woolly



Maybe you can read the clues and figure out what this is ... or can wait and I'll tell that, despite all the woolly fuzz, giant keratinous spines on the tail, and double nasal trunks, this might very well be a .... gasp! ... ankylosaur!

What could we say, speculatively, about ankylosaurs? First, we cannot really assume the spines are really covered in huge keratin sheaths -- croc scutes certainly aren't -- while there are suggestions that these were have been embedded into the animal's skin, and thus may not have been exposed as much as they appear. If some basal ornithischians had bodies covered in fuzz, and Mark Witton [link] makes a great case for ceratopsians covered in "dinofuzz," there's no real reason to stop at them and hit ankylosaurs as fuzzy, too. And as for the schnoz... ankylosaurs have these huge narial fenestrae, with ample evidence for them containing an ample extent of nasal tissue ... so why not a trunk-like apparatus? Doesn't need to be a "trunk," of course. And if these guys got any more north than other polar dinosaurs, there is no reason the suggestions for ceratopsian "wool" cannot really apply to them, too. Mental excercise, artistic, and above all, not serious.
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I love this picture. And I love the speculative idea.