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Spiky Utah dinosaur had more than ‘a face only a mother could love’



With its head and snout covered in bony armor shaped like cones and pyramids, a spiky tank-like dinosaur unearthed in southern Utah was not just another pretty face.

Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of fossils of a dinosaur named Akainacephalus johnsoni that lived 76 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. It was a four-legged, armor-studded plant-eater with a menacing club at the end of its tail.

It was a member of a dinosaur group called ankylosaurs, among the most heavily armored animals ever on Earth – and for good reason, considering the predators around at the time.

The unique shape and arrangement of its head and snout armor may be its most intriguing trait, the researchers said, giving clues about the Asian ancestry of some of the ankylosaurs that roamed western North America near the end of the dinosaur era.

“Someone once told me that Akainacephalus, and ankylosaurs in general, were quite ugly and had a face only a mother could love. I must say that I wholeheartedly disagree. These are quite extraordinary and beautiful animals,” said paleontologist Jelle Wiersma of James Cook University in Australia.


Akainacephalus was a medium-sized ankylosaur, about 16 feet (5 meters) long, with a short boxy head covered in bony armor and a beak and small teeth for cropping vegetation, said paleontologist Randall Irmis of the Natural History Museum of Utah and the University of Utah.

It had a short neck and wide torso, walked on four short stout legs, and may have whacked predators with its bony tail club. It inhabited a warm, humid environment similar to southern Louisiana’s bayous, with slow-moving streams and rivers and associated swamps. The largest predators were the 30-foot-long (9-meter-long) Tyrannosaurus rex cousin Teratophoneus and 42-foot-long (13-meter-long) crocodilian Deinosuchus.

The extensive skeletal remains, including a complete skull, were excavated in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Akainacephalus, as well as a cousin called Nodocephalosaurus that lived in New Mexico a couple million years later, possessed spiky head armor similar to Asian members of this dinosaur group. Other related North American dinosaurs such as Ankylosaurus had relatively flat armor covering the head.

This indicates Akainacephalus and Nodocephalosaurus wereclose kin to Asian ankylosaurs and that multiple emigrationevents involving this group occurred from Asia to North Americalate in the Cretaceous Period, the researchers said. This resulted in two distinct lineages in North America of club-tailed ankylosaurs.

The research was published in the scientific journal PeerJ.


Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler

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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe



On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump offers to guarantee bail for rapper A$AP Rocky



US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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The best Civil War movie ever made finally gets its due



On Sunday and on July 24, Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue.

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