Anoplosaurus

Name: Anoplosaurus ‭(‬Unarmed/unarmoured lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ah-nop-loe-sore-us.
Named By: Harry Govier Seeley‭ ‬-‭ ‬1879.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Thyreophora,‭ ‬Ankylosauria,‭ ‬Nodosauridae.
Species: A.‭ ‬curtonotus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Uncertain.
Known locations: England,‭ ‬Cambridgeshire‭ ‬-‭ ‬Cambridge Greensand.
Time period: Albian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Fragmentary remains,‭ ‬including vertebrae,‭ ‬ribs,‭ ‬hind leg and foot bones,‭ ‬pectoral girdle and partial humerus and partial dentary‭ (‬lower jaw‭)‬.‭ ‬Remains are possible those of a juvenile.

       The problem with most dinosaur remains from the Cambridge Greensand is that they are incomplete representations of a living animal,‭ ‬and collections of fossils can often be the mixed up remains of more than one genus.‭ ‬In the past the genus of Anoplosaurus‭ ‬has been accused of being partially composed of ornithopod dinosaur remains,‭ ‬while the others should belong to the genus Acanthopholis,‭ ‬itself a dubious genus of nodosaurid from the Cambridge Greensand.‭ ‬Current thinking however reaffirms Anoplosaurus as a nodosaurid.‭ ‬The lack of armoured plates,‭ ‬commonly fossilised in armoured dinosaurs due to their density,‭ ‬has been interpreted as being because the holotype remains are of a still developing juvenile.‭ ‬This interpretation does fit in with the relatively small size of the holotype remains.
       A second species of Anoplosaurus was once named as A.‭ ‬major,‭ ‬and this was established upon three vertebrae previously assigned to Acanthopholis stereocercus.‭ ‬These three vertebrae were composed of one cervical‭ (‬neck‭) ‬and two caudal‭ (‬tail‭) ‬vertebrae,‭ ‬but later analysis found that the cervical vertebrae belonged to an ankylosaur‭ (‬a kind of armoured dinosaur related to nodosaurs‭)‬,‭ ‬while the caudal vertebrae belonged to an igaunodont‭ (‬a very different kind of unarmoured ornithischian dinosaur‭)‬.‭ ‬Because the type material for the species is based upon what is more commonly termed a fossil chimera,‭ ‬this species is no longer regarded as valid.


Further reading
-‭ ‬On the Dinosauria of the Cambridge Greensand,‭ ‬Harry Govier Seeley‭ ‬-‭ ‬1879.

-‭ ‬Notes on the British dinosaurs,‭ ‬Part IV:‭ ‬Acanthopholis,‭ ‬Baron Francis Nopcsa‭ ‬-‭ ‬2009.

-‭ ‬A systematic review of ankylosaurian dinosaur remains from the Albian-Cenomanian of England,‭ ‬Xabier Pereda-Superbiola‭ & ‬Paul M.‭ ‬Barrett‭ ‬-‭ ‬1999.





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