Named By: Joseph Leidy - 1856.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Thyreophora, Ankylosauria.
Species: P. costatus (type).
Known locations: USA, Montana - Judith River Formation.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Teeth.
in 1856 by Joseph Leidy on the description of teeth, Palaeoscincus
is today considered a highly dubious genus of ankylosaur.
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
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.