Armored Monster Invades USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum
Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013
Scientists recently unveiled the skeleton of one of the largest known armored dinosaurs in its new home at Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum.
The never-before-seen skeleton is of one of the largest armored dinosaurs ever found. Bristling with spikes, Peloroplites cedrimontanus was well defended against predators looking for a quick lunch. Its name means “armored monster from the Cedar Mountain,” in reference to the formation from which the bones were found.
Peloroplites adds to a growing number of ankylosaur dinosaurs from Utah.
“There are more species of ankylosaurs in Utah than in any other state,” said Kenneth Carpenter, USU Eastern Museum director and dinosaur paleontologist. “Only Mongolia and China have us beat.”
The skeleton was pieced together from bones excavated by staff and volunteers from the USU Prehistoric Museum. Dinosaurs thrived in central Utah during the Early Cretaceous period, approximately 110 million years ago, Carpenter said.
The four-legged, slow moving titan was discovered in the Cedar Mountain Formation south of Price, at the north end of the San Rafael Swell. It weighed around five tons, or four Mini Coopers combined. The skeletal remains that were found at the site include bones of most parts of the body, except for the hind foot, Carpenter said.
Peloroplites had small teeth, which show it was a plant eater. Its body was encased in armor bones that formed in the skin much like on the back of alligators. The armor includes long spines along the sides of the body for defense. This provided protection against the T rex-sized carnivorous dinosaurs of the time called Acrocanthosaurus. This monster is 23 feet long, 6 1/2 feet tall and 6 3/4 feet wide at the hips, Carpenter said.
Paleontologists are currently studying several other dinosaur skeletons that were found at the same site, including one with a long neck and long arms and bones of a flying reptile.
Contact: Dr. Kenneth Carpenter, 435-613-5752; firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Christine K. Trease, 435-613-5757; Christine.email@example.com