A Prickly Prehistoric Plant-Eater from Patagonia
One of the more unusual dinosaur discoveries over the last fifteen years or so was the finding of fragmentary fossils of Agustinia, an armoured sauropod. This medium sized sauropod (estimated length 15 metres), had an astonishing array of body armour. Agustinia had plates and spikes running along the back of the neck, down the back and onto the tail. The plates are quite square shaped and resemble those of a stegosaur. The spikes seem to stick out and provide protection against attack. The longest spikes, some more than 50 cm long seem to have been positioned over and above the hip region.
If the body armour had been found with no bones in association, then the armour would probably have been assumed to belong to an armoured dinosaur such as a thyreophoran.
An Illustration of Agustinia
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
To view a model of Agustinia and other figures of bizarre members of the Sauropoda available from Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.
There remains some confusion as to the exact name given to this genus. This dinosaur was originally named Augustia but that scientific name had already been given to another species – a type of Begonia (a flowering plant), that had been named and described over 130 years before the fossils of Agustinia were discovered.