Name: Aletopelta ‭(‬Wandering shield‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ah-let-o-pel-tah.
Named By: T.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Ford‭ ‬-‭ ‬J I Kirkland‭ ‬-‭ ‬2001.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ankylosauria,‭ ‬Ankylosauridae.
Species: A.‭ ‬coombsi‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: About‭ ‬6‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬California‭ ‬-‭ ‬Point Loma Formation.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial post cranial remains and eight teeth.

       Once considered a possible nodosaurid,‭ ‬Aletopelta was confirmed as an ankylosaurid when it was formally described in‭ ‬2001.‭ ‬This interpretation came about mainly from study of the osteoderm armour which is more like the armour of known ankylosaurs and less like that of nodosaurs.‭ ‬By extension Aletopelta would be assumed to have had a broader skull as well as a bony club on the end of the tail like in relative genera,‭ ‬though in Aletopelta these have so far not known to have been preserved.
       The name Aletopelta means‭ ‘‬wandering shield‭’ ‬a reference to the fact that the Aletopelta holotype remains have actually travelled a long way since they first came to rest.‭ ‬The holotype remains of Aletopelta were located on the Peninsular Ranges Terrane,‭ ‬and accounting for seventy million years‭’ ‬worth of continental drift Aletopelta would have actually lived much closer to what is now Mexico during the Cretaceous.‭ ‬In addition to this the holotype remains have been interpreted as being washed out‭ ‬to‭ ‬sea shortly after the animal died,‭ ‬perhaps with flood waters or a storm surge.‭ ‬When they finally settled on the bottom,‭ ‬they seem to‭ ‬have formed the basis for a miniature reef.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Carlsbad ankylosaur‭ (‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ankylosauria‭)‬:‭ ‬an ankylosaurid and not a nodosaurid.‭ ‬-‭ ‬The Armored Dinosaurs.‭ ‬Indiana University Press,‭ ‬Bloomington‭ ‬239-260.‭ ‬-‭ ‬T.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Ford‭ ‬-‭ ‬J I Kirkland‭ ‬-‭ ‬2001.


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