A Tail Like Deadly Scissors!

July 28, 2017

Imagine a walking living tank that is covered in armor from its nose to the tip of its tail. Gastonia is an ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of North America, around 125 million years ago. Discovered in a bonebed of the lower Cedar Mountain Formation in Grand County, Utah. It was discovered in 1989, but not until recently have scientists been able to describe how devastating and successful this animal actually was. It could reach lengths other 20 feet long and weighed up to 4,200 pounds!


We have all heard of the larger Ankylosaur with its large club at the end of its tail. Its popularity has grown with movies like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Gastonia was a very similar dinosaur but with a very different and more sinister weapon. Gastonia had large 2 foot spikes that came out at the shoulders and back and continued down its sides and tapered off at the tail. Each one of these one of these spikes, like the rest of its armor, would have been covered with Keratin, the same material that makes up our hair and fingernails. This means that the spikes could have reached a length of 3 feet and would come to an extremely sharp and nasty point! Its entire head and back would have been covered with keratin and spikes and would have made this animal almost impossible to attack from above.


Here is the nasty part. Along the length of its tail was a series of curved flattened spikes that almost make the shape of a sharks tooth. What is remarkable about these spikes is that they are staggered. Meaning that are not in a perfectly straight line down the tail. When this animal swings its tail the spikes would overlap like a set of prehistoric deadly scissors! So any animal that unfortunately finds itself in the way of Gastonia's swinging and curving tail could very well