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Ziapelta, new ankylosaurid from Upper Cretaceous of New Mexico

Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Victoria M. Arbourl, Michael E. Burns, Robert M. Sullivan, Spencer G.
Lucas, Amanda K. Cantrell, Joshua Fry & Thomas L. Suazo (2014)
A New Ankylosaurid Dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Kirtlandian) of
New Mexico with Implications for Ankylosaurid Diversity in the Upper
Cretaceous of Western North America. PLoS ONE 9(9): e108804.

A new ankylosaurid (Ankylosauria: Dinosauria), Ziapelta sanjuanensis,
gen. et sp. nov., is based on a complete skull, an incomplete first
cervical half ring, a possible fragment of the second cervical half
ring, and additional fragmentary osteoderms. The holotype specimen is
from the Upper Cretaceous (Upper Campanian, Kirtlandian
Land-Vertebrate Age) Kirtland Formation (De-na-zin Member) at Hunter
Wash, San Juan Basin, in northwestern New Mexico, USA. Diagnostic
characters of Ziapelta include: a large, prominent triangular median
nasal caputegulum; a mixture of flat and bulbous frontonasal
caputegulae; ventrolaterally oriented squamosal horns with a sharp,
prominent dorsal keel; and the ventral surface of basicranium with
three prominent anteroposteriorly oriented fossae. A phylogenetic
analysis suggests that Ziapelta is not closely related to the other
ankylosaurid from the De-na-zin Member, Nodocephalosaurus, but allies
it to the northern North American ankylosaurids Ankylosaurus,
Anodontosaurus, Euoplocephalus, Dyoplosaurus, and Scolosaurus.


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