Minmi Paravertebra

Minmi paravertebra is a unique Ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous in what is today Australia. Unlike the other Ankylosaurians, they had horizontal plates of bones along the sides of their vertebrae.

Key Facts

Minmi paravertebra pronunciationMin-meeipah-rah-vert-eh-brah
What does Minmi paravertebra mean?Minmi itself means “uncertain”. The specific name, Minmi paravertebra, refers to the unique bone elements found along its vertebrae, where the word paravertebra was coined.  It was also named after Minmi Crossing, Queensland where it was discovered.
Dinosaur typeAnkylosauria
On the menuHerbivore
Length3 meters (9.8 ft)
Height1 meter (3.28 ft)
Weight300 kg (660 lbs)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundQuadrupedal
Estimated top speedIt is believed that Minmi was a speedy runner.
When they livedMinmi paravertebra existed during the Lower Cretaceous era around 133 million to 120 million years ago.
Where they have been found?Queensland, Australia.

When & Where

It was first discovered by Dr. Alan Bartholomai at Minmi Crossing in Roma, Queensland in 1964. From what we know now, during the early Cretaceous period, part of Queensland formed a large island that separated from the rest of Australia.The bones were described and named by Ralph Molnar in 1980. The specimen included 11 vertebrae, parts of at least 14 ribs, some armor plating and a partial foot. 

Size & Weight

Minmi is very unique from the other ankylosaurian dinosaurs. It is said to be smaller compared to the other types. It measures 3 meters (9.8 ft) in length, 1 meter (3.28 ft) tall and weighs about 300 kg (660 lbs).

Mobility & Diet

Since Minmi is a plant-eater, its diet would mainly consist of plant materials such as seeds, ferns, fruits, leaves and any soft-leaved plants. It is believed that studies revealed that the plant material found in their abdominal region was finely diced, hence leading researchers to believe that Minmi may have cut their food with its serrated cheek teeth after nipping the vegetation using its beak. 

Interesting Points

  • Did you know that after the first fossil discovery in Minmi Crossing, a second specimen found in Marathon Station in north-central Queensland was originally thought to be from Minmi however it was recently reassigned to a different genus in 2015? Though there are more Ankylosaurs fossils found in New Zealand and Antarctica, they don’t belong to Minmi.
  • Minmi had ossified tendons along its backbone that are possibly for muscle attachment.
  • Apparently, the assumed “extra muscle” was the reason why Minmi is a speedy runner.
  • A study about its gut contents revealed that Minmi used to eat ferns, seeds and other soft plant materials.