Story at a glance:

  • The ankylosaurs were dinosaurs that resembled turtles with spikes.
  • They survived the Cretaceous-period heat thanks to a corkscrew-shaped nasal passage.
  • The holes cooled down ankylosaurs' blood before it reached the brain.

The ankylosaurs were a group of dinosaur species that resembled turtles with spikes covering their backs and were equipped with armored balls attached to their tails.

Scientists have discovered that this heavy-armored dinosaur also adopted a corkscrew-shaped nasal passage to allow heat to escape from its body, according to Scientific American.


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Paleontologists from Ohio University were curious how a creature with so much armor could survive the Cretaceous-period heat. After using advanced scanning and 3D modeling technologies, professor Lawrence Witmer and his colleagues discovered that ankylosaurs had corkscrew-shaped nozzles, the equivalent of having coils inside a modern air conditioner.

A former doctoral student of Witmer's, Jason Bourke, of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State, said the holes cooled down ankylosaurs' blood before it reached the brain. This in turn protected the animal from heat strokes. 

"Right now we're seeing this unprecedented global warming, global climate change, which is disrupting all kinds of weather patterns," Witmer said. "Dinosaurs, in a sense, can give us some insight into how animals today might be able to deal with this increased heat that we see."


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Published on Jul 26, 2021