The Basal Nodosaurid Ankylosaur Europelta Carbonensis N. Gen., N. Sp. From the Lower Cretaceous (Lower Albian) Escucha Formation of Northeastern Spain

PLoS One. 2013 Dec 2;8(12):e80405. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080405. eCollection 2013.


Nodosaurids are poorly known from the Lower Cretaceous of Europe. Two associated ankylosaur skeletons excavated from the lower Albian carbonaceous member of the Escucha Formation near Ariño in northeastern Teruel, Spain reveal nearly all the diagnostic recognized character that define nodosaurid ankylosaurs. These new specimens comprise a new genus and species of nodosaurid ankylosaur and represent the single most complete taxon of ankylosaur from the Cretaceous of Europe. These two specimens were examined and compared to all other known ankylosaurs. Comparisons of these specimens document that Europelta carbonensis n. gen., n. sp. is a nodosaur and is the sister taxon to the Late Cretaceous nodosaurids Anoplosaurus, Hungarosaurus, and Struthiosaurus, defining a monophyletic clade of European nodosaurids- the Struthiosaurinae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dinosaurs / anatomy & histology*
  • Dinosaurs / classification*
  • Fossils*
  • Spain

Grant support

This study is part of the paleontology research projects of Departamento de Educación, Universidad, Cultura y Deporte, Gobierno de Aragón and has been supported by its Dirección General de Patrimonio Cultural (exp. 201/2010, 201/10-2011, 201/10-11-2011), DINOSARAGÓN CGL2009-07792 R&D project (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and FEDER Funds), FOCONTUR (Grupo de Investigación Consolidado E-62, Departamento de Industria e Innovación Ciencia, Tecnología y Universidad, Gobierno de Aragón), Instituto Aragonés de Fomento, Fundación SAMCA, and Fundación Conjunto Paleontológico de Teruel-Dinópolis. Partial funding for this project was provided by Craig Wilkerson through the Utah Friends of Paleontology. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.