Just stepping off the platform in front of you is Minmi paravertebra - and that can’t be easy as its front legs are shorter than its back ones. This is a life-sized model of a four-legged plant-eating dinosaur belonging to the Ankylosaur group.
Let’s start with the head, which is right in front of you. Feel its triangular shape, with its little horns at the widest part. There is a row of humps on both sides of the head leading to the tip at the front. On the top of the head at the front are 2 big nostrils. The eyes are on either side of the head, typical of plant-eaters like today’s cows or sheep.
Now move your hands down the neck and feel the hard ridged lumps, which continue to cover the body the lumps range in size from a pea to a saucer and provide tough exterior to present to any predator trying to attack it. There are bones in those scales, so no wonder these dinosaurs are known as ‘nature’s tanks’.
The legs seem a lot like wrinkled leathery elephant legs with 4 toes on the back legs and 5 toes on the front. You can feel its size, but from tip to tip it is as long as a small car, and is quite short and stocky. Minmi was unique among ankylosaurs (and other dinosaurs) in having small, backward directed bony projections (called paravertebrae) - along the backbone to provide extra attachment for back muscles.
These were similar to the bony structures found in crocodiles that strengthen and support the back during the 'high walk'. Along with its unusually long back legs, compared to other ankylosaurs, these paravertebrae suggest Minmi could have outrun at least some predators rather than relying solely on armour for protection. Fossils of Minmi’s dinner have been found preserved inside some specimens. The plant material was finely chopped, which suggests Minmi cut its food with its serrated cheek teeth after nipping the vegetation off with its beak.
This dinosaur is the most complete Australian dinosaur found to date, its remains being discovered in Queensland.
Minmi lived in the Early Cretaceous period 125 to 110 million years ago.