‘Jousting ankylosaurs’ whacked their peers with their ‘sledgehammer-like tails’

Equipped with massive tails studded with spikes, ankylosaurs were heavily armored herbivores that could do real damage in a fight. Paleontologists once thought that these tank-like dinosaurs used their tail clubs solely to fight off predators, but a new study published Dec. 6 in the journal Biology Letters (opens in new tab) reveals that they also bashed each other in a show of dominance.

For the investigation, a team of North American paleontologists examined Zuul crurivastator (opens in new tab) (named after the fictional monster of the same name in the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters”), the most complete fossilized ankylosaur known whose remains are on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, Canada. Its species name, CrurivastatorLatin for “destroyer of shins,” was inspired by the fearsome club at the end of its 10-foot-long (3 meter) tail.

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