3.5" Fossil Nodosaurid (Denversaurus) Dinosaur Scute - Wyoming

This is a neck scute (armor plate - osteoderm) from the nodosaurid, Denversaurus schlessmani, collected from the Lance (Creek) Formation on a private lease in Niobrara County, Wyoming. It measures 3.5" wide and is accompanied by an acrylic display stand for presentation.

Denversaurus was a panoplosaurin nodosaurid dinosaur from the late Cretaceous, approximately 66 million years ago. Denversaurus was an herbivore like other nodosaurids/ankylosaurids, and measured approximately 20 feet (6 meters) on average. It lived in North America in the midwest alongside more well-known contemporaries such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, and Pachycephalosaurus. Like other nodosaurids/ankylosaurids, it had an armored carapace made up of bony scutes all along the dorsal surface of its body.

The Lance Formation of Wyoming, which dates back to the Late Cretaceous period between 66 and 69 million years ago, is home to a wide variety of both dinosaur and assorted small vertebrate fossils. During the Cretaceous, this midwestern formation would have been comprised of streams connected to the large Western Interior Seaway that split continental North America in half down the midwest. As a result of the subtropical climate and frequent rainfall, life flourished both on land and in the sea. These wet environments created perfect scenarios for sediment deposition, making the resulting Lance Formation such a fertile fossil site.

Perhaps the most famous Lance resident would be Tyrannosaurus rex, the largest North American carnivore to ever live. However, other smaller theropods also roamed the American midwest in this subtropical coastal stream system, including the beaked Ornithomimus, a lanky running theropod with a build similar to a modern ostrich, as well as several small predatory troodonts such as Paronychodon and Pectinodon.

Herbivorous dinosaurs also took advantage of the abundance offered by this unique era. Armored ankylosaurs dwelt in herds, their safety assured by their numbers, their heavy bone plating protecting most of their bodies and even their eyelids, and huge bone clubs on the ends of their tails providing them with powerful offensive capabilities. Ceratopsians like the famous Triceratops also formed protective herds, guarding their necks with frills and horns. Their smaller relatives, the dome-headed pachycephalosaurs, were also well represented in the area. Hadrosaurs, duck-billed titans with huge batteries of plant-grinding teeth in elongated snouts, are also well known from the region.

In addition to dinosaurs, a wide variety of fishes, amphibians, lizards, snakes, turtles, champsosaurs, crocodilians, and pterosaurs have been found in the formation.
Denversaurus schlessmani
Niobrara County, Wyoming
Lance (Creek) Formation
3.5 x 2.9 x 1.35"
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