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TALARURUS

a plant-eating ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia.
talarurus
Pronunciation: tal-uh-ROOR-us
Meaning: Basket tail
Author/s: Maleev (1952)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Dornogovi, Mongolia
Chart Position: 151

Talarurus plicatospineus

Talarurus is a member of ankylosauria - the armoured battalion of dinosaurs, and if ankylosaurs were real soldiers Talarurus would be a Hoplite. Its neck, back and flanks were entirely covered in thick armour plates conjoined into bony shields. In fact, it was so well-armoured that even its armour was armoured, and each of its bony, boat-shaped armour plates was adorned with pleated spines for which Talarurus plicatospineus ("plicated spines") was named.

As well as being well armoured it was also well-armed as the end of its tail was carrying a mace-like club made from a series of fused bones, though it was relatively modest compared to the real big-hitting ankylosaurs. Still, the tail itself was possibly 25 vertebrae long and re-inforced with a series of interwoven bony struts for both strength and flexibility, and a carnivore-crippling blow could be delivered with a single swish.

Often referred to as a hippopotamus-size dinosaur due to a more barrel-shaped body than its low-slung, wide-load brethren, the body and tail of Talarurus were not the only parts that were armoured. Although fairly small, flat and narrow compared to most other ankylosaurs, its skull, 24 centimetres long and 22 cm wide, was similarly fortified with thickened bones which, unfortunately, didn't leave much room for a brain.
(Basket-tail with folded spines)Etymology
Talarurus is derived from the Greek "talaros" (wicker basket) and "oura" (tail). Some sources assume it was named for a wicker basket-like tail club but "basket tail" refers to its entire tail; fortified with interlaced bony struts that roughly resembles the weave used to make wicker baskets. Its tail club is formed from fused bones! The species epithet, plicatospineus, is derived from the Latin "plicatura" (folded) and "spineus" (thorny), referring to the corrugated spines on the surface of its armour plates.
Discovery
The remains of Talarurus were discovered in the Bayn Shire Formation (aka Bayn Shiree, Bayan Shiree Svita, Bayn Shireh Svita, Baynshirenskaya), Dornogovi Aimag (Province), Mongolia, by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1948. The holotype (PIN N 557/91, housed at the Palaeontological Institute in Moscow) is a partial skull.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Cenomanian-Turonian
Age range: 99-89 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 5 meters
Est. max. hip height: 2 meters
Est. max. weight: 1.5 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Thyreophora
Ankylosauria
Ankylosauridae
Talarurus
plicatospineus
Talarurus disparoserratus
A fragmentary upper jaw from Shiregin Gashun was assigned to Syrmosaurus as Syrmosaurus disparoserratus by Maleev in 1952, then Syrmosaurus turned out to be a junior synonym of Pinacosaurus so the jaw was up for grabs. Maryanska assigned it to Talarurus disparoserratus in 1977 but as Talarurus lacked a jaw for comparison the move was unjustified and it was renamed Maleevus disparoserratus by Tumanova in 1987.
References
• T. A. Tumanova (1999) "Armoured dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of Mongolia".
• Vickaryous, Maryanska, and Weishampel (2004) Chapter Seventeen: "Ankylosauria" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmolska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Benton, Shishkin, Unwin and Kurochkin (2003) "The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "TALARURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 27th Apr 2017.
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