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).
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.
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
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.
- 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.