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Concept: Euoplocephalus

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Few ankylosaurs are known from more than a single specimen, but the ankylosaurid Euoplocephalus tutus (from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada and Montana, USA) is represented by dozens of skulls and partial skeletons, and is therefore an important taxon for understanding intraspecific variation in ankylosaurs. Euoplocephalus is unusual compared to other dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta because it is recognized from the Dinosaur Park, Horseshoe Canyon, and Two Medicine formations. A comprehensive review of material attributed to Euoplocephalus finds support for the resurrection of its purported synonyms Anodontosaurus lambei and Scolosaurus cutleri, and the previously resurrected Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus. Anodontosaurus is found primarily in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta and is characterized by ornamentation posterior to the orbits and on the first cervical half ring, and wide, triangular knob osteoderms. Euoplocephalus is primarily found in Megaherbivore Assemblage Zone 1 in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta and is characterized by the absence of ornamentation posterior to the orbits and on the first cervical half ring, and keeled medial osteoderms on the first cervical half ring. Scolosaurus is found primarily in the Two Medicine Formation of Montana (although the holotype is from Dinosaur Provincial Park), and is characterized by long, back-swept squamosal horns, ornamentation posterior to the orbit, and low medial osteoderms on the first cervical half ring; Oohkotokia horneri is morphologically indistinguishable from Scolosaurus cutleri. Dyoplosaurus was previously differentiated from Euoplocephalus sensu lato by the morphology of the pelvis and pes, and these features also differentiate Dyoplosaurus from Anodontosaurus and Scolosaurus; a narrow tail club knob is probably also characteristic for Dyoplosaurus.

Concepts: Dinosaur, Ankylosauridae, Ankylosauria, Ankylosaurs, Thyreophora, Euoplocephalus, Campanian, Dyoplosaurus

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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.

Concepts: United States, North America, Dinosaur, New Mexico, Ankylosauridae, Ankylosauria, Thyreophora, Euoplocephalus

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Taphonomic deformation can make the interpretation of vertebrate fossil morphology difficult. The effects of taphonomic deformation are investigated in two ankylosaurid dinosaur taxa, Euoplocephalus tutus (to investigate effects on our understanding of intraspecific variation) and Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani (to investigate the validity of this genus). The ratio of orbit maximum rostrocaudal length to perpendicular height is used as a strain ellipse, which can be used to determine if ankylosaur skull fossils have been dorsoventrally compacted during fossilization and diagenesis. The software program Geomagic is used to retrodeform three-dimensional (3D) digital models of the ankylosaur skulls. The effects of sediment compaction are modeled using finite element analysis, and the resulting strain distributions are compared with the retrodeformed models as a test of the retrodeformation method. Taphonomic deformation can account for a large amount of intraspecific variation in Euoplocephalus, but finite element analysis and retrodeformation of Minotaurasaurus shows that many of its diagnostic features are unlikely to result from deformation.

Concepts: Ratio, Fossil, Dinosaur, Ankylosauridae, Ankylosauria, Ankylosaurs, Thyreophora, Euoplocephalus