Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 75–70 Ma
|Skull of Minotaurasaurus|
Miles & Miles, 2009
Miles & Miles, 2009
Minotaurasaurus is a genus of ankylosaurine ankylosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous. It was named in 2009 by Clifford A. Miles and Clark J. Miles and the type species is Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani. The generic name is explained by the describers as meaning "man-bull reptile"; the specific epithet honours Vilayanur S. Ramachandran who purchased the fossil for $10,000 from the trader Hollis Butts, based in Japan, and made it available to science. It is known only from a complete skull of unknown provenance, but probably recovered from the Gobi Desert. While it had a distinctive armored bull-like head and a more primitive braincase, it shares the typical features of an ankylosaurid.
A controversy has surfaced around the provenance of this skull. Some paleontologists claim that this fossil was removed from the Gobi desert without the permission of the Chinese government and sold without proper documentation. V.S. Ramachandran, who purchased the fossil in Tucson, Arizona (United States), says that he would be happy to repatriate the fossil to the appropriate nation, if someone shows him "evidence it was exported without permit". For a short time, the specimen was on loan to the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley, California, but in 2007, Ramachandran reacquired it.
A 2014 study by Victoria Arbour, Philip Currie, and Demchig Badamgarav concluded that Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani is probably a junior synonym of Tarchia kielanae; a redescription of the cranial anatomy of Tarchia in 2016, however, concluded that Minotaurasaurus was a distinct taxon.
- Miles, Clifford A.; Miles, Clark J. (2009). "Skull of Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani, a new Cretaceous ankylosaur from the Gobi Desert" (PDF). Current Science. 96 (1): 65–70.
- naturenews, February 2, 2009
- Arbour, Victoria M.; Currie, Philip J.; Badamgarav, Demchig (2014). "The ankylosaurid dinosaurs of the Upper Cretaceous Baruungoyot and Nemegt formations of Mongolia". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 172: 631–652. doi:10.1111/zoj.12185.
- Paul Penkalski; Tatiana Tumanova (2016). "The cranial morphology and taxonomic status of Tarchia (Dinosauria: Ankylosauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia". Cretaceous Research. in press. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2016.10.004.
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