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a plant-eating ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of England.
Pronunciation: hi-LEE-o-SOR-us
Meaning: Forest lizard
Author/s: Mantell (1832)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Sussex, England
Chart Position: 3

Hylaeosaurus armatus

Hylaeosaurus is the misfit among the three critters that Sir Richard Owen used to define Dinosauria in 1842, because its holotype—unlike those of Megalosaurus and Iguanodon—is (1) more than a single bone, and (2) was still encased in a sandstone block with only surface fossils available for study at the time. It was rescued from the rubble after a gunpowder explosion had demolished a quarry face in Tilgate Forest in 1832, and pencilled-in for announcement by Gideon Manell four months later to much pomp and ceremony. But, alas, his manuscript was a third too long for scientific publication, so he wrote an entire book, inserted his Hylaeosaurus paper as a standalone chapter, added the epithet "armatus" in order to be recognised as its official author under new nomenclature rules at the advice of Henry De la Beche, and managed to get "The Geology of the South-East of England" published and on the shelves by May of 1833.

Since then, Hylaeosaurus has laid claim to—and been stripped of—fragmentary fossils from mainland England, the Isle of Wight, France, Germany, Romania and Spain, and been bolstered by three species, all of which were previously known as something else, with Hylaeosaurus oweni (Hylaeosaurus armatus), Hylaeosaurus northhamptoni (Regnosaurus) and Hylaeosaurus foxii (Polacanthus) ultimately being shoved right back where they started. The holotype, though, is made of sterner stuff, and seemingly unfazed by the assault on its bone-obscuring matrix with chisel, airscribe and chemicals by workers at London's Natural History Museum that released many new fossils for scrutiny. However, aside from the fact that Hylaeosaurus is a spiky armoured dinosaur which is what Mantell told us way back in 1833, we're not much the wiser, because if any new features did reveal themselves they have yet to be officially published.
(Armoured lizard of the forest)Etymology
Hylaeosaurus is derived from the Greek "hylaios" (from the forest) and "sauros" (lizard). The name was originally explained by Mantell as meaning "forest lizard" alluding to Tilgate Forest where the first specimen was unearthed. However, he later established the use of hylaeo- as a pun for the geological term "Wealden" (meaning "wood") - which was coined in 1828 by Peter Martin for the Early Cretaceous sands and clays of southern England.
The species epithet, armatus, means "armoured" in Latin.
The remains of Hylaeosaurus were recovered by Gideon Mantell from the Tilgate Grit Member of the Grinstead Clay Formation (Hastings Beds Group), Tilgate Forest, East Sussex, England, after quarry blasting in 1832.
The holotype, NHMUK 3775 (previously BMNH R3775), consists of a partial skull, perhaps a lower jaw, vertebrae, both shoulder girdles, and some armour plates and spines. Several other fossils from the same quarry were assumed by Mantell to belong to Hylaeosaurus too, but they can't be assigned here with any confidence.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Cretaceous
Stage: Valanginian
Age range: 140-136 mya
Est. max. length: 5 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 2 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree
• Mantell G A (1833) "The Geology of the South-east of England". London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman.
• Mantell G A (1833) "Observations on the remains of the Iguanodon, and other fossil reptiles, of the strata of Tilgate Forest in Sussex". Proceedings of the geological Society of London. 1: 410–411.
• Mantell G A (1844) "The Medals of Creation: or first lessons in geology and in the study of organic remains". Vol II: 587-876 [coins Hylaeosaurus oweni]. London: Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Covent Garden.
• Mantell G A (1848) "The Wonders of Geology or a Familiar Exposition of Geological Phenomena".
• Koken E (1887) "Die Dinosaurier, Crocodiliden und Sauropterygier des norddeutschen Wealden". Geologische und Palaeontologische Abhandlungen. 3: 311–420.
• Corroy G (1922) "Les reptiles néocomiens et albiens du Bassin de Paris". Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences de Paris. 172: 1192–1194.
• Romer A S (1956) "Osteology of the Reptiles". [Coins Hylaeosaurus northhamptoni.]
• Coombs W (1971) "The Ankylosauria". Ph.D. thesis. Columbia University. [Coins Hylaeosaurus foxi.]
• Sanz J L (1983) "A nodosaurid ankylosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Salas de los Infantes (Province of Burgos, Spain)". Geobios. 16: 615–621. doi:10.1016/s0016-6995(83)80038-2.
• Barrett PM (1996) "The first known femur of Hylaeosaurus armatus and reidentification of ornithopod material in The Natural History Museum, London". Bulletin of the Natural History Museum (Geology). 52: 115–118.
• Carpenter K (2001) "Skull of the polacanthid ankylosaur Hylaeosaurus armatus Mantell, 1833, from the Lower Cretaceous of England". Page 169–172 in Carpenter (ed.) "The Armored Dinosaurs". I.U. Press.
• Posmosanu E (2003) "The palaeoecology of the dinosaur fauna from a Lower Cretaceous bauxite deposit from Bihor (Romania)". Page 121-124 in: Petculescu and Stiuca (eds.) "Advances in Vertebrate Paleontology: Hen to Panta". Romanian Academy, "Emil Racovita" Institute of Speleology, Bucarest.
• Naish D and Martill D M (2008) "Dinosaurs of Great Britain and the role of the Geological Society of London in their discovery: Ornithischia". Journal of the Geological Society, London, Vol.165,pp. 613–623.
• Paul G S (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs". Page 228. Princeton University Press.
• Sachs S and Hornung J J (2013) "Ankylosaur Remains from the Early Cretaceous (Valanginian) of Northwestern Germany". PLoS ONE 8(4): e60571.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "HYLAEOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 26th Jul 2017.