Among big teeth, claws, spikes, and colossal mass, the tail club was one of the deadliest weapons of the dinosaurs that ruled the earth millions of years ago.
Evolution had gifted armored dinosaurs like Ankylosaurs with nature’s sledgehammer, a bony mass at the end of the tail that had the power to break the bone of a T. rex.
Since the fossil of Ankylosaurs was first discovered in the 1900s, it was believed that the tail club was only used by the Ankylosaurs to defend themselves from predators.
However, the new fossil findings by a group of scientists suggest that it wasn’t only to deter the predators but also to challenge themselves for dominance and mating rights.
These dinosaurs were built like tanks covered in hard bony plates with a rockhard club at the end of their (Ankylosaurs) tail.
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Initially, paleontologists believed that the tail club was only used to defend themselves from predators like T. rex due to the lack of strong supportive evidence.
“This natural sledgehammer has long been considered by both scientists and artists as a defensive weapon against predators,” said paleontologist Victoria Arbour, Royal British Columbia Museum, Canada, in a report.
The team of paleontologists found proof of the tail club’s other uses from a fossil that was excavated in 2017.
The studies revealed the fossilized armored dino (Ankylosaurs) had five broken spikes on its sides clustered in a particular part of the body.
The injuries on the fossil lacked any bite or scratch marks. The research report was published in Biology Letters. It stated that the injuries were consistent with tail clubbing.
These armored dinosaurs’ tail clubs began as tiny clusters at the tip. The matured Ankylosaurs used their tail clubs to spar with each other for territory, food, and mating rights just like today’s herbivores.
“Ankylosaurs are often portrayed as stupid, lone dinosaurs. The studies show that they probably had much more complex behaviors than we give them credit for,” Arbour added.