Armored Dinosaur Exhibit opens at Prehistoric Museum

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Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 5:52pm

A 23-foot-long armored dinosaur was unveiled at USU Eastern’s Prehistoric Museum this week. It was discovered in a region south of Price on the northern end of the San Rafael Swell called Cedar Mountain.

Weighing about five tons (the size of four Mini Cooper cars), it roamed Central Utah during the early Cretaceous Period, approximately 110 million years ago. The skeletal remains of the Peloroplites dinosaur found at the site include bones of most parts of the body, except for the hind foot.

Peloroplites had small teeth, which show it was a plant eater. Its body was encased in armor bones that formed in the skin much like on the back of alligators. The armor includes long spines along the sides of the body for defense. This provided protection against the T-Rex-sized carnivorous dinosaurs of the time called Acrocanthosaurus. This newest addition to the museum is 23-feet long; six-feet, six-inches tall and six-feet, nine-inches wide at the hips.

The never before seen skeleton is of one of the largest armored dinosaurs ever found, said Kenneth Carpenter, USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum director. Bristling with spikes, Peloroplites cedrimontanus was well defended against predators looking for a quick lunch. Its name means “armored monster from the Cedar Mountain,” in reference to the formation from which the bones were found.

Peloroplites adds to a growing number of ankylosaur dinosaurs from Utah.

“There are more species of ankylosaurs in Utah than in any other state,” Carpenter said. “Only Mongolia and China have us beat.”

Paleontologists are studying several other dinosaur skeletons found at the same site, including one with a long neck, long arms and bones of a flying reptile.

USU Eastern’s Prehistoric Museum is open Monday through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and located on 100 North 200 East in Price.

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