Name: Ziapelta ‭(‬Zia shield‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ze-ah-pel-tah.
Named By: V.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Arbour,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Burns,‭ ‬R.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Sullivan,‭ ‬S.‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Lucas,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬K.‭ ‬Cantrell,‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Fry‭ & ‬T.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Suazo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2014.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Thyreophora,‭ ‬Ankylosauria,‭ ‬Ankylosauridae.‭
Species: Z.‭ ‬sanjuanensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Skull‭ ‬44‭ ‬centimetres long.‭
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬New Mexico‭ ‬-‭ ‬Kirtland Formation‭ [‬De-na-zin Member‭ ]‬.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and osteoderms.

       Ziapelta is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur that lived in what is now the USA during the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous.‭ ‬At the time of the genus description Ziapelta is only known from a single partial skull and some osteoderms,‭ ‬the bony plates that grew within the skin as a form of plated body armour.‭ ‬Further details such as full body length are uncertain because there are so many variable factors to consider,‭ ‬but as an ankylosaur,‭ ‬Ziapelta would have had a clubbed tail,‭ ‬maybe for inter-species dominance contests,‭ ‬or defence from predators,‭ ‬or even both reasons.
       Ziapelta shared the same ecosystem as another genus of ankylosaur called Nodocephalosaurus,‭ ‬also known from partial remains from the Kirkland Formation.‭ ‬However there are clear differences between the osteoderms of these two genera,‭ ‬to the point that there is no question that they represent completely different genera.‭ ‬Other plant eating dinosaurs that Ziapelta might have grazed alongside include hadrosaurs such as Parasaurolophus and Kritosaurus,‭ ‬and ceratopsians such as Titanoceratops and Pentaceratops.‭ ‬The heavy bony armour formed by the osteoderms in the skin of Ziapelta would have formed the last line of defence against the teeth of large predatory dinosaurs such as‭ ‬the tyrannosaur‭ ‬Bistahieversor.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A new ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous‭ (‬Kirtlandian‭) ‬of New Mexico with implications for ankylosaurid diversity in the Upper Cretaceous of western North America.‭ ‬-‭ ‬PLoS ONE‭ ‬9‭(‬9‭)‬:e108804:1-14.‭ ‬-‭ ‬V.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Arbour,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Burns,‭ ‬R.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Sullivan,‭ ‬S.‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Lucas,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬K.‭ ‬Cantrell,‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Fry‭ & ‬T.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Suazo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2014.


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