That Annoying Little Ankylosaurus


How did that little club work at the end of the ankylosaurus tail?


“…Juvenile ankylosaurids actually don’t have a knob at the end of their tail,” Arbour said. “They’re born without it, and then as they grow, their armor develops slowly from the head toward the tail. It’s possible that they only develop tail clubs at sexual maturity or at the very least when they are very large.”

Since baby dinosaurs were most at risk for predator attacks, it seems odd that only adults would have tail clubs that worked as effective weapons. Arbour thinks it might point to another use for the bony ball on the end of the dino’s tail. “It’s important to keep in mind that structures can often have more than one function,” she said. “If you look at modern animals like giraffes, when the males are fighting they’re actually clubbing each other with their necks and heads. I kind of wonder if ankylosaurids were doing the same thing but using their tails instead.”…”