Last time we wrote about a dinosaur was well over two years ago. So we thought of going back to the prehistoric world once again and this time we will be telling you some fascinating Aletopelta facts.

It is going to be a short article because there isn’t enough information available on dinosaurs anyway. Whatever we know about them comes from fossil discoveries and analysis of fossils by experts. So, in case you are expecting tons of facts about Aletopelta, you may be disappointed.

Okay then, let us begin with the classification.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Clade: Dinosauria
  • Order: Omithischia
  • Suborder: Ankylosauria
  • Family: Ankylosauridae
  • Genus: Aletopelta
  • Species: A. coombsi
  • Binomial Name: Aletopelta coombsi

All right! Now that we have the classification in place, let us take a quick look at the basic information:

Name - Aletopelta coombsi
Lived - 84 to 71 million years ago
Historical Period - Late Cretaceous
Diet - Herbivore
Locomotion - Quadrupedal
Size - 6 meters in length (or 5 meters)
Weight - 2 tons.

Okay, time for the facts!

Fascinating Aletopelta Facts: 1-10

1. Aletopelta is pronounced as a-LEE-to-PEL-tuh.

2. The meaning of the name is ‘Wandering Shield.’

3. It was discovered in a ditch in the year 1987. The ditch was dug for a sewage pipe when the works for the widening of College Boulevard were under progress. College Boulevard is located near Carlsbad, which is in turn located on the California coast.

4. Until the dinosaur was named, it was known by the name ‘Carlsbad Ankylosaur.’ You get the reason for that naming, don’t you?

5. The dinosaur type species was officially named as Aletopelta coombsi in 2001 by Tracy Lee Ford and James Kirkland.

6. The name Aletopelta comes from the Greek words ‘aletes’ and ‘pelte,’ which means ‘wandering’ and ‘small shield’ respectively.

7. The reason behind such naming was that the remains were found on a tectonic plate (Peninsular Ranges Terrane).

8. The tectonic plate was originally located somewhere opposite to the middle of Mexico but over time it wandered northward (because of continental drift) and brought the dinosaur along with it. So, the dinosaur most likely lived in a place that is now Mexico.

9. How did the dinosaur end up on a tectonic plate? Most likely after the dinosaur died, its bloated carcass ended up floating out into the sea and then sunk to the bottom.

10. The carcass landed on its back and this became evident from the bivalves that attached to the back of the dead dino.

Fascinating Aletopelta Facts: 11-20

11. After the dinosaur sank to the bottom and landed on its back, it most likely formed a miniature reef environment.

12. The soft parts of the upside-down dead body of the dinosaur came between the jaws of scavenging sharks.

13. The sharks did an excellent job at scavenging and left the knuckle-less limb bones and those long bones were hollowed out. What was left behind was a skeletal remain that was poor and difficult to study.

14. Because of the terrible preservation state, thanks to the sharks, Matthew Vickaryous went on to conclude in 2004 that the Aletopelta was nothing more than a nomen dubium (it is Latin for ‘doubtful name’).

15. The species epithet, that is, ‘coombsi’ (pronounced as KOHM-zie) is named after Walter Preston Coombs, Jr. – a renowned vertebrate paleontologist.

16. Walter Preston Coombs, Jr. studied and described the fossil in the year 1996. However, he did not name it.

17. The remains of the Aletopelta coombsi that were found included the thighbones, shinbones, calf bones, shoulder blade, ribs, left ischium, right ischium, ulna, humerus, vertebrae, 8 teeth, 60 detached armor plates, one cervical halfring, and a partial armor over the dinosaur’s pelvic girdle.

18. The original estimate for the length of the dinosaur was 20 feet or 6 meters. Gregory S. Paul, in 2010, estimated that the dinosaur was 5 meters long.

19. The exact location of the remains of Aletopelta was Point Loma Formation in California, USA.

20. The Aletopelta was originally thought to be a nodosaurid but studying the arrangement and shape of the osteoderm armor, it was concluded that the Aletopelta was an ankylosaurid.

That concludes our list of 20 Aletopelta facts. In case we missed anything and you have something more to add to it, let us know and we shall add it to our list.

Featured Image Credit: By Nobu Tamura ( – CC BY-SA 4.0, Link


Categorized in: