Borealopelta markmitchelli Fact Sheet Preparations
In a few weeks’ time, the first of the 2019 CollectA prehistoric animal models will be coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur. One of the first figures expected to arrive is the Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta figure, a fifteen centimetre long replica of a nodosaurid that roamed north-western Alberta around 112 million years ago. The fact sheet for this new dinosaur model is being prepared and a scale drawing of Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli) has been produced.
The Scale Drawing of Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli) Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Heavily Armoured with Countershading
The exquisite state of preservation has permitted palaeontologists to gain a great deal of information about the position of the osteoderms and scutes that covered the dinosaur’s body. When the scientific paper providing the formal description of Borealopelta was published in 2017, the research team described how chemical analysis of organic compounds in the armour and skin permitted the research team to infer the armoured dinosaur’s pigmentation. It was discovered that Borealopelta possessed countershading, with a reddish-brown top half contrasting with a much paler underside. In extant animals, countershading helps to provide camouflage against predators, but most large animals today, such as rhinos, elephants and hippos, don’t have countershading.
The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta Dinosaur Model
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
At more than five metres long and with such strong armour, it seems surprising that this armoured dinosaur would evolve countershading to help it avoid detection. Such a large and powerfully built dinosaur would have presented a formidable opponent for most Theropod dinosaurs, but apparently it paid Borealopelta to try to maintain a low profile.
It is not known what sort of meat-eating dinosaurs Borealopelta tried to hide from but three-toed prints, some measuring in excess of 90 cm long and ascribed to the ichnogenus Irenesauripis indicate that they may have been some 12-metre-plus carnivores in the ecosystem that were best avoided.
Everything Dinosaur’s original blog post announcing the discovery of the fossilised remains but before a formal scientific description was published can be found here: Extremely Rare Ankylosaur Fossil Turns Up in Alberta’s Oil Sands
To read an article about the dermal armour of Borealopelta markmitchelli: The Remarkable Armour of Borealopelta
What Sort of Giant Theropods?
As to what sort of Theropods could have predated Borealopelta, we can only speculate. However, it has been postulated that the super-sized carnivores that Borealopelta was trying to avoid were probably carcharodontosaurids or allosaurids. This armoured dinosaur is estimated to have weighed more than 1.3 Tonnes, it is much larger than animals alive today that have evolved countershading, therefore, the assumption is that there must have been super-sized, hypercarnivores that Borealopelta was trying to avoid.
Summarising the Research into the Armoured Dinosaur Borealopelta
Picture Credit: Brown et al, published in Current Biology with additional annotation from Everything Dinosaur
To view the range of CollectA prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models
The scientific paper: “An Exceptionally Preserved Three-Dimensional Armored Dinosaur Reveals Insights into Coloration and Cretaceous Predator-Prey Dynamics” by Caleb M. Brown, Donald M. Henderson, Jakob Vinther, Ian Fletcher, Ainara Sistiaga, Jorsua Herrera and Roger E. Summons published in Current Biology.