Species: Mymoorapelta maysi (My-moo-rah-pelt-ah mae-sai)
What it means: Shield of Mygatt-Moore Quarry
Other Species: None
Where I live: Colorado and Utah, U.S.A.- The Morrison Formation
When to find me: The Late Jurassic period, about 152 million years ago.
My favorite food: Plants! I’m an herbivore.
My neighborhood: The Morrison Formation covers a huge expanse of land with a variety of different habitats teaming with life. Most of it was very much like the Serengeti of modern day Africa, only with prairies of drought-tolerant ferns and cycad relatives instead of grass. Dense woodlands of tall conifers like the modern araucaria, ginkgoes, and tree ferns would only lie in places of plentiful water such as the few permanent rivers. Other areas had far more sparse and shrubbier vegetation like the open woodlands of acacia trees in the Serengetti.
Life in this environment would’ve adapted to long months of harsh drought, followed by a few months of monsoon that flooded the rivers. Many of the larger herbivores may have migrated like the herds in Africa do today, while most carnivores stayed behind to feast on the dead and dying, or else become opportunistic hunters of less traditional diets for lean times, such as fish or turtles in the rivers.
A few of my neighbors: First let me share my herbivorous friends…
- Long-necked sauropods like Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, Barosaurus, Suuwassea, Supersaurus, Haplocanthosaurus, and Dystrophaeus.
- Armored friends like Stegosaurus, Hesperosaurus, and Gargoyleosaurus.
- Two-legged ornithopods like Dryosaurus, Camptosaurus, and Nanosaurus
The predators in the neighborhood include dinosaurs like Allosaurus, Torvosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Saurophaganax, Marshosaurus, Stokesosaurus, Ornitholestes, Coelurus, Tanycolagreus, Elaphrosaurus, and Koparion.
Plus there are all the other little critters on the ground…countless lizards, crocodile relatives on land and water, mammals, frogs, turtles, fish. Sometimes I see pterosaurs soaring in the sky.
- Mymoorapelta was the first Jurassic ankylosaur found in North America. A famous ankylosaur is the giant Ankylosaurus, but Mymoorapelta comes from a family branch called nodosaurs, which do not have the bony club on the end of their tails like Ankylosaurus.
- The name Mymoorapelta honors the people who discovered Mygatt-Moore Quarry, which was where the first fossils were found: Peter and Marylin Mygatt, and John and Vanetta Moore. Pelta is the Latin form of péltē, which was a small shield used by some Ancient Greek warriors. The shields were made of wicker in a crescent or sometimes circular shape, and then covered in goat or sheep skin.
- The species name is in honor of Chris Mays, president of Dinamation International Corporation and founder of Dinamation International Society, which is a nonprofit organization to promote paleontology, and helped fund the research that led to the discovery of Mymoorapelta.
Fossil Finds: Partial remains of at least three individuals, perhaps fragments of a few more. Precise arrangement of armor is uncertain.
Foster, John. Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press, 2007
Kirkland, J. I.; K. Carpenter (1994). “North America’s first pre-Cretaceous ankylosaur (Dinosauria) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of western Colorado”. Brigham Young University Geology Studies. https://www.academia.edu/226538/Kirkland_J_I_and_Carpenter_K_1994_North_Americas_First_Pre_Cretaceous_Ankylosaur_Dinosaurian_from_the_Upper_Jurassic_Morrison_Formation_of_Western_Colorado_Brigham_Young_University_Geological_Studies_vol_40_p_25_42