Europe’s Shield, From the Coal
When I think of where to find non-avian dinosaurs, I think of isolated badlands. Documentaries and a few seasons looking for fossils in the American west have only reinforced the connection in my mind. But while such locales often hold what remains of Mesozoic life, they aren’t the only places to find dinosaurs. One of the latest dinosaurs to be described – an herbivore encased in body armor – was found on the floor of a coal mine in Spain.
The dinosaur’s name is a tribute to where it was discovered. Europelta carbonensis roughly translates to “Europe’s shield from the coal.” As Jim Kirkland, Luis Alcalá, and coauthors explain in the PLoS One study describing the dinosaur, the ankylosaur’s bones were