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DRACOPELTA

a plant-eating ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Portugal.
Pronunciation: drak-o-PEL-tuh
Meaning: Dragon shield
Author/s: Galton (1980)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Lourinhã, Portugal
Chart Position: 225

Dracopelta zbyszewskii

When Peter Galton named Dracopelta zbyszewskii in 1980 he described it as a nodosaurid, one of the long-snouted lightweight ankylosaurs. He also stated that it was discovered at Ribamar... but didn't say which one.

There are two Ribamars in the Estremadura region of Portugal: one in the Mafra municipality which is Early Creatceous in age and the other, around 22km from the first, near Lourinhã, which is Late Jurassic. Experts suspect the latter is more likely, which makes Dracopelta the first ankylosaurid known from this period. It's also one of the most primitive known from any time or place and one of the smallest at an estimated two meters in length.

Although known from just a chunk of rib cage, some vertebrae and a handful of armour scutes, Dracopelta is one of the better-known early armoured-tank dinosaurs. Based on this meagre material, Vickaryous et al. reckon Dracopelta cannot be classified as anything more specific than Ankylosauria incertae sedis—"of uncertain placement"—and that will only change with the discovery of better fossils.
(Zbyszewski's dragon shield) Etymology
Dracopelta is a combination of the Latin "draco" (dragon) and the Greek "pelta" (shield).
The species epithet, zbyszewskii, honours palaeontologist George Zbyszewski.
Discovery
The remains of Dracopelta were discovered in the Freixial Formation at Praia do Sul, Ribomar, near near Lourinhã, Portugal. The holotype (MIGM) is rib cage with thirteen dorsal (back) vertebrae and five armour scutes.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Jurassic
Stage: Kimmeridgian
Age range: 156-151 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 2 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 75 Kg
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Thyreophora
Ankylosauria
Dracopelta
zbyszewskii
References
• Vickaryous, Maryanska, and Weishampel (2004) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• P.M. Galton (1980) "Partial skeleton of Dracopelta zbyszewskii, n. gen. and n. sp., an ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "DRACOPELTA :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 14th Dec 2017.
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