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BOREALOPELTA

a plant-eating nodosaurid ankylosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Canada.
Pronunciation: BOH-ree-AH-low-PEL-tuh
Meaning: Northern shield
Author/s: Caleb Brown, et al. (2017)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Alberta, Canada
Chart Position: 806

Borealopelta markmitchelli

Despite being rustic, stocky-built critters and armoured to the nines, nodosaurid ankylosaurs have seldom given palaeontologists more than a glympse of their former selves, but that's as much to do with the way they were preserved as it is to when and where. Besides an unfortunate trip or slip into a river that ended its life, all of the stars aligned to immortalise Borealopelta, who floated out to sea full of decompositional gases, exploded, lost its tail and most of its hind limbs, and sank into the soft, pillowy ocean floor that cradled its back. Then a duvet of slurry covered its underside before it could be torn apart by one of the viscous sea creatures that the area is notorious for. The speed of its burial was key, as the mineral rich sediment invaded its soft tissue and preserved everything just about where its should be. And even the shovel of a monstrous muck digger over a hundred million years later couldn't destroy the "mummy" of Borealopelta which is, quite simply, spectacular.
(Mitchell's northern shield)Etymology
Borealopelta is derived from the Latin "borealis" (northern) and the Greek "pelta" (shield), in reference to the northern locality where it was found and the bony plates, called osteoderms, that are embedded in its skin. The species epithet, markmitchelli, honors Mark Mitchell for his more than 7,000 hours of patient and skilled preparation of the holotype.
Discovery
The remains of Borealopelta were discovered in the Wabiskaw Member of the Clearwater Formation at Suncor Millennium Mine, near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, by Shawn Funk on March 21st, 2011.
The holotype (TMP 2011.033.0001) is an articulated specimen including the head, neck, most of the trunk and sacrum, a complete right and a partial left forelimb and hand, and a partial foot. The upper surface of its skull, neck, back and hips are covered with osteoderms that lie where they would have during life, and scales and soft tissue are preserved on parts of the forelimbs, palm of the hands and sole of the foot.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Cretaceous
Stage: Aptian
Age range: 125-112 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 5.5 meters
Est. max. hip height: 1 meters
Est. max. weight: 1.5 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree
Borealopelta
markmitchelli
References
• Brown CM, Henderson DM, Vinther J, et al. (2017) "An Exceptionally Preserved Three-Dimensional Armored Dinosaur Reveals Insights into Coloration and Cretaceous Predator-Prey Dynamics". Current Biology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.071
*Image Credit*—The Royal Tyrell Museum.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "BOREALOPELTA :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Sep 2017.
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