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A Late Cretaceous nodosaurid ankylosaur (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from marine sediments of coastal California

  • Walter P. Coombs (a1) and Thomas A. Deméré (a2)

A partial nodosaurid ankylosaur skeleton, consisting primarily of the ilia, hindlimbs, posterior dorsal armor, plus partial forelimb elements and additional armor, was recovered from the marine Point Loma Formation, late Campanian age, north of San Diego, California. The specimen is similar to contemporaneous species of Panoplosaurus and Edmontonia from terrestrial sediments of the western interior, but there are also similarities to the armor of Stegopelta landerensis from marine sediments of earliest Cenomanian age from Wyoming. Skeletal elements critical for generic determination are not preserved, and the specimen is identified as Nodosauridae, incertae sedis. An associated marine invertebrate fauna and nannoplankton flora have revealed some discrepencies in the correlation systems used for Upper Cretaceous marine rocks of coastal California. Hollow limb bones of the specimen are interpreted as a preservational artifact. Nodosaurids had broad ecological tolerances, and visited riparian and coastal environments more frequently than other dinosaurs. However, a review of morphologic and distributional evidence fails to support a theory of amphibious or aquatic habits for nodosaurids.

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