Nodosauridae

Nodosauridae

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Encyclopedia
Nodosauridae is a family of ankylosauria
Ankylosauria
Ankylosauria is a group of herbivorous dinosaurs of the order Ornithischia. It includes the great majority of dinosaurs with armor in the form of bony osteoderms. Ankylosaurs were bulky quadrupeds, with short, powerful limbs. They are first known to have appeared in the early Jurassic Period of...

n dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

s, from the Late Jurassic
Late Jurassic
The Late Jurassic is the third epoch of the Jurassic Period, and it spans the geologic time from 161.2 ± 4.0 to 145.5 ± 4.0 million years ago , which is preserved in Upper Jurassic strata. In European lithostratigraphy, the name "Malm" indicates rocks of Late Jurassic age...

 to the Late Cretaceous
Late Cretaceous
The Late Cretaceous is the younger of two epochs into which the Cretaceous period is divided in the geologic timescale. Rock strata from this epoch form the Upper Cretaceous series...

 Period of what are now North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Antarctica and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

Characteristics



Diagnostic characteristics for the Nodosauridae include the following: supraorbital boss rounded protuberance, occipital condyle derived from only the basioccipital and ornamentation present on the premaxilla
Premaxilla
The incisive bone is the portion of the maxilla adjacent to the incisors. It is a pair of small cranial bones at the very tip of the jaws of many animals, usually bearing teeth, but not always. They are connected to the maxilla and the nasals....

. There is a fourth ambiguous character: the acromion is a knob-like process. All nodosaurids, like other ankylosaurs, may be described as medium-sized to large, heavily built quadruped
Quadruped
Quadrupedalism is a form of land animal locomotion using four limbs or legs. An animal or machine that usually moves in a quadrupedal manner is known as a quadruped, meaning "four feet"...

al herbivorous dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

s, possessing small denticulate teeth and parasagittal rows of osteoderms (a type of armour
Armour (zoology)
Armour in animals is external or superficial protection against attack by predators, formed as part of the body , usually through the hardening of body tissues, outgrowths or secretions. It has therefore mostly developed in 'prey' species...

) on the dorsolateral surfaces of the body.

Taxonomy


The family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Nodosauridae was erected by Othniel Charles Marsh
Othniel Charles Marsh
Othniel Charles Marsh was an American paleontologist. Marsh was one of the preeminent scientists in the field; the discovery or description of dozens of news species and theories on the origins of birds are among his legacies.Born into a modest family, Marsh was able to afford higher education...

 in 1890, and anchored on the genus Nodosaurus
Nodosaurus
Nodosaurus was a genus of herbivorous ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, the fossils of which are found in North America. Two incomplete specimens have been discovered in Wyoming and Kansas, and no skulls...

. The following taxonomy follows Thompson et al., 2011 unless otherwise noted.
  • Family Nodosauridae
    • ?Aletopelta
      Aletopelta
      Aletopelta coombsi was an ankylosaurian ornithischian dinosaur whose fossils were found in Southern California.Etymologically, the generic name is composed of the Greek terms aletes and pelte, meaning, respectively "wandering" and "shield"...

      (California
      California
      California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

      , Western North America)
    • Animantarx
      Animantarx
      Animantarx is a genus of nodosaurid ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of western North America. Like other nodosaurs, it would have been a slow-moving quadrupedal herbivore covered in heavy armor scutes, but without a tail club...

      (Utah
      Utah
      Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

      , Western North America)
    • Anoplosaurus
      Anoplosaurus
      Anoplosaurus is an extinct genus of nodosaurid dinosaur, from the late Albian-age Lower Cretaceous Cambridge Greensand of Cambridgeshire, England...

      (England
      England
      England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

      , Northwestern Europe)
    • Antarctopelta
      Antarctopelta
      Antarctopelta was a genus of ankylosaurian dinosaur with one known species, A. oliveroi, which lived in Antarctica during the Late Cretaceous Period. It was a medium-sized ankylosaur, reaching no more than 4 meters in length, and showed characteristics of two different families, making more...

      (James Ross Island
      James Ross Island
      James Ross Island is a large island off the southeast side and near the northeastern extremity of Antarctic Peninsula, from which it is separated by Prince Gustav Channel. Rising to , it is irregularly shaped and extends in a north-south direction. It was charted in October 1903 by the Swedish...

      , Northeastern Antarctic Peninsula
      Antarctic Peninsula
      The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica. It extends from a line between Cape Adams and a point on the mainland south of Eklund Islands....

      )
    • Edmontonia
      Edmontonia
      Edmontonia was an armoured dinosaur, a part of the nodosaur family from the Late Cretaceous Period. It is named after the Edmonton Formation , the unit of rock it was found in.-Description:...

      (Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

      , Western North America)
    • Gargoyleosaurus
      Gargoyleosaurus
      Gargoyleosaurus is one of the earliest ankylosaurs known from reasonably complete fossil remains. Its skull measures in length, and its total body length is an estimated . It may have weighed as much as...

      (Wyoming
      Wyoming
      Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

      , Western North America)
    • Gastonia
      Gastonia (dinosaur)
      Gastonia is a genus of nodosaurid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of North America, around 125 million years ago. Closely related to Polacanthus, it has a sacral shield and large shoulder spikes. It is also the first polacanthine dinosaur to have been mounted for display at the Denver Museum of...

      (Utah
      Utah
      Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

      , Western North America)
    • Glyptodontopelta
      Glyptodontopelta
      Glyptodontopelta is a genus of dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous. It was an ankylosaur, an armored dinosaur....

      (New Mexico
      New Mexico
      New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

      , Western North America)
    • Hoplitosaurus
      Hoplitosaurus
      Hoplitosaurus was a genus of armored dinosaur related to Polacanthus. It was named from a partial skeleton found in the ?Barremian-age Lower Cretaceous Lakota Formation of Custer County, South Dakota. It is an obscure genus which has been subject to some misinterpretation of its damaged remains...

      (South Dakota
      South Dakota
      South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

      , central North America)
    • Hungarosaurus
      Hungarosaurus
      Hungarosaurus tormai is a nodosaurid ankylosaur from the Upper Cretaceous Csehbánya Formation of the Bakony Mountains of western Hungary. It is presently the most completely known ankylosaur from the Cretaceous of Europe...

      (Hungary
      Hungary
      Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

      , Central-Southern Europe)
    • Hylaeosaurus
      Hylaeosaurus
      Hylaeosaurus is the most obscure of the three animals used by Sir Richard Owen to first define the new group Dinosauria, in 1842. The original specimen, recovered by Gideon Mantell from the Tilgate Forest in the south of England in 1832, now resides in the Natural History Museum of London, where...

      (Sussex
      Sussex
      Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

      , Southern England)
    • Mymoorapelta
      Mymoorapelta
      Mymoorapelta is an ankylosaur from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation of western Colorado. The taxon is known from portions of a disarticulated skull, parts of three different skeletons and other postcranial remains...

      (Colorado
      Colorado
      Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

      , central North America)
    • Niobrarasaurus
      Niobrarasaurus
      Niobrarasaurus is an extinct genus of nodosaurid ankylosaur which lived during the Cretaceous 87 to 82 million years ago. Its fossils were found in the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation, in western Kansas, which would have been near the middle of Western Interior Sea during the...

      (Kansas
      Kansas
      Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

      , Western North America)
    • Nodosaurus
      Nodosaurus
      Nodosaurus was a genus of herbivorous ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, the fossils of which are found in North America. Two incomplete specimens have been discovered in Wyoming and Kansas, and no skulls...

      (Wyoming
      Wyoming
      Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

       and Kansas
      Kansas
      Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

      , Western North America)
    • Panoplosaurus
      Panoplosaurus
      Panoplosaurus is a genus of nodosaurid dinosaur. It was one of the last known nodosaurids, living during the Late Cretaceous in what is now North America; fossils have been located in Alberta, Canada....

      (Montana
      Montana
      Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

       and Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

      , Western North America)
    • Pawpawsaurus
      Pawpawsaurus
      Pawpawsaurus, meaning "Pawpaw Lizard", is a nodosaurid ankylosaur from the Cretaceous of Tarrant County, Texas, discovered in May 1992. The only species yet assigned to this taxon, Pawpawsaurus campbelli, is based on a complete skull from the marine Paw Paw Formation...

      (Texas
      Texas
      Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

      , Western North America)
    • Peloroplites
      Peloroplites
      Peloroplites is a genus of nodosaurid armored dinosaur from Lower Cretaceous rocks of Utah...

      (Utah
      Utah
      Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

      , Western North America)
    • Polacanthus
      Polacanthus
      Polacanthus, deriving its name from the Ancient Greek poly-/πολυ- "many" and acantha/ακανθα "thorn" or "prickle", was an early armored, spiked, plant-eating ankylosaur from the early Cretaceous period. Early depictions often gave it a very vague head as it was only known from the rear half of the...

      (Isle of Wight
      Isle of Wight
      The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

       and Sussex
      Sussex
      Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

      , Southern England)
    • Propanoplosaurus
      Propanoplosaurus
      Propanoplosaurus is a genus of herbivorous nodosaurid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Patuxent Formation of Maryland. Its type specimen is a natural cast and partial natural mold of a hatchling....

      (Maryland
      Maryland
      Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

      , Eastern North America)
    • Sauropelta
      Sauropelta
      Sauropelta is a genus of nodosaurid dinosaur that existed in the Early Cretaceous Period of North America. One species has been named although others may have existed. Anatomically, Sauropelta is one of the most well-understood nodosaurids, with fossilized remains recovered in the U.S. states of...

      (Wyoming
      Wyoming
      Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

       and Montana
      Montana
      Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

      , Western North America)
    • Silvisaurus
      Silvisaurus
      Silvisaurus, from the Latin silva "woodland" and Greek saurus "lizard", is a nodosaurid ankylosaur from the middle Cretaceous of Kansas.-Discovery and species:...

      (Kansas
      Kansas
      Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

      , Western North America)
    • Stegopelta
      Stegopelta
      Stegopelta is a genus of armored dinosaur. It is based on a partial skeleton from the latest Albian-earliest Cenomanian-age Lower and Upper Cretaceous Belle Fourche Member of the Frontier Formation of Fremont County, Wyoming....

      (Wyoming
      Wyoming
      Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

      , Western North America)
    • Struthiosaurus
      Struthiosaurus
      Struthiosaurus is one of the smallest known and most basal genera of nodosaurid dinosaurs, from the Late Cretaceous period of Austria, Romania and France in Europe. It was protected by body armour...

      (Central-Southern Europe)
    • Tatankacephalus
      Tatankacephalus
      Tatankacephalus is a basal genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous.Its fossil has been collected from the Cloverly Formation of central Montana during 1996, 1997 and 1998, in the region of the Middle Dome in Wheatland County. The type species is T. cooneyorum,...

      (Montana
      Montana
      Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

      , Western North America)
    • Texasetes
      Texasetes
      Texasetes is a genus of ankylosaurian dinosaur from the late Lower Cretaceous of North America. This poorly known genus has been recovered from the Paw Paw Formation near Haslet, Tarrant County Texas, which has also produced the nodosaurid ankylosaur Pawpawsaurus...

      (Texas
      Texas
      Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

      , Western North America)
    • Zhejiangosaurus
      Zhejiangosaurus
      Zhejiangosaurus is an extinct genus of nodosaurid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Zhejiang, eastern China...

      (Zhejiang
      Zhejiang
      Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of China. The word Zhejiang was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital...

       Province, Eastern China)
  • Dubious
    Nomen dubium
    In zoological nomenclature, a nomen dubium is a scientific name that is of unknown or doubtful application...

     Nodosaurids
    • Acanthopholis
      Acanthopholis
      Acanthopholis is a genus of ankylosaurian dinosaur in the family Nodosauridae that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period of England....

      (United Kingdom
      United Kingdom
      The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

      , Western Europe)
    • Palaeoscincus
      Palaeoscincus
      Palaeoscincus is a dubious genus of ankylosaurian dinosaur based on teeth from the mid-late Campanian-age Upper Cretaceous Judith River Formation of Montana...


Phylogeny


The clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 Nodosauridae was first defined by Paul Sereno
Paul Sereno
Paul Callistus Sereno is an American paleontologist from the University of Chicago who discovered several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco, and Niger...

 in 1998 as "all ankylosaurs closer to Panoplosaurus than to Ankylosaurus
Ankylosaurus
Ankylosaurus is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur, containing one species, A. magniventris...

," a definition followed by Vickaryous, Maryanska, and Weishampel in 2004. Vickaryous et al. considered two genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of nodosaurids to be of uncertain placement (incertae sedis): Struthiosaurus and Animantarx, and considered the most primitive member of the Nodosauridae to be Cedarpelta. The cladogram
Cladogram
A cladogram is a diagram used in cladistics which shows ancestral relations between organisms, to represent the evolutionary tree of life. Although traditionally such cladograms were generated largely on the basis of morphological characters, DNA and RNA sequencing data and computational...

 below follows the most resolved topology from a 2011 analysis by paleontologists Richard S. Thompson, Jolyon C. Parish, Susannah C. R. Maidment and Paul M. Barrett.