[D] Minmi paravertebra [sG] [T]
Cretaceous Early Aptian
Ornithischia Thyreophora Eurypoda Ankylosauria Nodosauridae
Allaru Formation; Bungil Formation, near Roma, Queensland, Australia
Genus - Typespecies
QM F10329, fragmentary postcranial skeleton with armor.
A small nodosaurid and the only unequestionable ankylosaur from Gondwanaland. The outstanding feature of Minmi paravertebra is the presence of elongate bony rods, apparently modified ossified tendons, located between the neural spines and the tips of the transverse processes.
Minmi is only known from a mall portion of the back and parts of a foot and was the first armoured ornithischian to be found in the southern hemisphere. Minmi\\\'s classification is still uncertain. First placed in the nodosaurid family, it might prove to be a primitive ankylosaurid, or even part of a new, third family of armoured dinosaurs.
Minmi was a four-legged, armoured herbivore that stomped around on all four sturdy limbs, cutting off leafy fronds with its beak and chewing them between its small, leaf-shaped cheek teeth.
Its body was thickly covered with armour that would have discouraged attack. Even a theropod that succeeded in overtur ning a Minmi risked snapping off its teeth against the belly armour. The whole underside appears to have been covered with small, rounded scutes (bony plates) slightly over 5 mm ( about 1/4 inch) in diameter.Beside each dorsal (back) vertebrae there was a paravertebra, some 2 cm (3/4 inch) long by 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) wide. Attached to this was a rod of bone, which was similar to the bony tendons found in ornithopods.
The rods might have reinforced the spine and eased the strain on it when the lumbering animal pounded the ground as it ran. Two fossil skeletons have been discovered, both in Australia. Ian Ivers discovered the first Minmi in 1964.
Minmi had a low, somewhat box -shaped skull. Since its forelimbs were almost as long as its hind limbs, Minmi stood with an almost level back. Size: 3m ( 10 ft)
Molnar (2001) reported on a new specimen QM F33286, a partly disarticulated skeleton, collected from the Allaru Formation of north-central Queensland, this specimen shows patches of ossicles of what seems to be undisturbed belly armor.