Spanish Mine Yields Dinosaur Fossils of Newly-Discovered Armoured Species Dating Back 110 Million Years

Palaeontologists have uncovered a new species of tank-like dinosaur in a century-old Spanish coal mine.

The species was discovered after two incredibly-well preserved dinosaurs were unearthed near the town of Ariño in north eastern Spain.

The armoured dinosaurs are believed to have been around five metres long, a metre tall and two tonnes in weight.

Palaeontologists have uncovered a new species of tank-like dinosaur in a century-old Spanish coal mine. The new dinosaur has been named Europelta carbonensis

OLDEST NODOSAURID IN EUROPE

Europelta carbonensis is part of the nodosauridae family which were around during the Late Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous Period in North America, Asia, Antarctica and Europe.

Like other dinosaurs in the nodosauridae family, Europelta was a plant-eater and was covered in scaly armoured plates.

The Europelta carbonensis is estimated to have lived 113 million and 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, making it the oldest nodosaurid discovered in Europe.

The specimens initially appeared to belong to a sub-species of armoured dinosaur in the Ankylosauria group, but there were some key differences.

For instance, Ankylosaurs have triangular heads, whereas these dinosaurs were found to have a rounded, tear-drop-shaped skull as well as a strongly arched pelvis.

Describing their research in the journal PLOS One, researchers named the species Europelta carbonensis, which means ‘Europe’s shield from coal’.

Earlier this week researchers unveiled two separate armoured dinosaurs discovered in the mine near the town of Ariño in north eastern Spain

A skeletal reconstruction of Europelta carbonensis. The unknown parts of the skeleton are shaded in grey

Europelta carbonensis is part of the nodosauridae family which were around during the Late Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous Period in North America, Asia, Antarctica and Europe.

The Europelta carbonensis is estimated to have lived 113 million and 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, making it the oldest nodosaurid discovered in Europe.

Like other dinosaurs in the nodosauridae family, Europelta was a plant-eater and was covered in scaly armoured plates.

Europelta carbonensis is part of the nodosauridae family which were around during the Late Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous Period in North America, Asia, Antarctica and Europe

The Europelta carbonensis is estimated to have lived 113 million and 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, making it the oldest nodosaurid discovered in Europe

Ankylosaurs have triangular heads, whereas the Europelta were found to have a tear-drop-shaped skull

Huffington Post notes that before the nodosaurid ankylosaurs, their ancestors – polacanthid ankylosaurs – were the main armoured dinosaurs in both Europe and North America.

James Kirkland, the lead research from the University of Utah, claims that the European nodosaurids differed from those in North America.

‘By 113 million years ago nodosaurid ankylosaurs have completely replaced them on both continents, yet are represented by distinctly different subfamilies on both continents,’ he told Huffington Post.

As Europelta is closely related to other nodosaurs in Europe, the new finding suggests that Europe had become isolated from North America around 110 million years ago – rather than the 80 million years that many suggest.

The dinosaur fossils were discovered near the town of Ariño in north eastern Spain

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