Minmi (dinosaur)

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Dinosaurs


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Thyreophora
Infraorder: Ankylosauria
Genus: Minmi
Molnar, 1980

Minmi, named for Minmi Crossing, Australia (where it was found), was a small species of ankylosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous Period, about 119 to 113 million years ago. It appears to have been one of the more successful animals of its time, as more Minmi fossils have been discovered than any other single Australian dinosaur. At least five near-complete skeletons have been found, spread all over Australia (and maybe even in New Zealand).

Discovery and species

Minmi was found near the Minmi Crossing, in the Bungil Formation, near Roma, Queensland, Australia. It was first described in 1980 by Ralph E. Molnar. It had the shortest name of any dinosaur, until Mei was named in 2004.

Minmi species

  • M. paravertebra


model - National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra
model - National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra

Minmi was a small armored dinosaur, part of the ankylosaur group (too primitive to be included in either the Ankylosauridae or Nodosauridae), that was quadrupedal and had a long tail. As with other ankylosaurs, Minmi was herbivorous, eating low-lying plant material like cycads, ferns, horsetail rushes. It had bony protrusions, also known as body armor, on its head, back, abdomen, legs and along the tail. However, unlike other ankylosaurs, Minmi had horizontal plates of bones that ran along the sides of its vertebrae (hence its species name, M. paravertebra).

Minmi had four long (for an ankylosaurian) legs, with rear legs that were larger than front legs, a short neck and a wide skull with a very small brain. The dinosaur grew to about 10 feet (3 m) long and was roughly 3 feet (1 m) tall to the top of the shoulder. Minmi probably moved relatively slowly on four legs, as determined by scientists from fossilized tracks, its estimated mass and its leg length. Some argue that its intelligence, (as measured by its relative brain to body weight, or EQ), was below the average among the other dinosaurs at the time.

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