Name: Palaeoscincus ‭(‬Ancient skink‭)‬.
Phonetic: Pa-lay-oh-scin-kus.
Named By: Joseph Leidy‭ ‬-‭ ‬1856.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Thyreophora,‭ ‬Ankylosauria.
Species: P.‭ ‬costatus‭ (‬type‭).
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Uncertain.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬Montana‭ ‬-‭ ‬Judith River Formation.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Teeth.

       Named in‭ ‬1856‭ ‬by Joseph Leidy on the description of teeth,‭ ‬Palaeoscincus is today considered a highly dubious genus of ankylosaur.‭ ‬While over the years other fossil material has been assigned to the genus,‭ ‬most of this material has now been reassigned to other dinosaur genera including the dinosaurs Euoplocephalus,‭ ‬Paranthodon and even an as yet unidentified pachycephalosaurid.‭ ‬This leaves the original teeth that established the type species,‭ ‬although they are widely considered to not be diagnostic enough to be referred to further remains.‭ ‬Despite this lack of viable remains Palaeoscincus still became one of the most commonly portrayed ankylosaurs in popular media and toys,‭ ‬although the dinosaur depicted was usually a composite produced to appear like other similar creatures to it,‭ ‬although there was not factual basis for the form.‭ ‬Today this serves as an example of how scientific facts are sometimes distorted in an effort to make something appear more complete and exciting to a wider audience‭ ‬at the cost of the science.
       Palaeoscincus is not the only dinosaur that Joseph Leidy described by teeth.‭ ‬Leidy also named two tyrannosaurs Deinodon and Aublysodon,‭ ‬and while the latter is sometimes mentioned as a genus,‭ ‬both are widely considered to be highly dubious.‭ ‬Leidy did however have a success with the dinosaur Troodon,‭ ‬as the teeth of this dinosaur are so distinctive that they allowed later palaeontologists to identify much more complete remains for this genus.


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