Temporal range: Cenomanian–Turonian
Arbour & Currie, 2015
(Lü et al., 2007)
Discovery and naming
The holotype, BXGMV0012, is a skull found near Beipiao in a layer of the Sunjiawan Formation probably dating from the Albian. Specimen BXGMV0012-1, a skeleton lacking the skull, discovered in the same quarry as the holotype, was referred to the species. Furthermore, a skeleton with skull, displayed by the Sihetun Fossil Museum as a Crichtonsaurus bohlini specimen, was in 2014 referred to Crichtonpelta. In 2017, a fourth specimen was described, from the same quarry as the holotype, G20090034, consisting of a skull lacking the front snout.
In 2014, Victoria Arbour concluded that Crichtonsaurus were a nomen dubium. Therefore, she named a separate genus for its second species: Crichtonpelta. The generic name combines a reference to Michael Crichton, the author of Jurassic Park, with a Greek πέλτη, peltè, "small shield". At the time this was an invalid nomen ex dissertatione. However, in 2015, Crichtonpelta was validly named by Arbour and Philip John Currie. The type species is Crichtonsaurus benxiensis; the combinatio nova is Crichtonpelta benxiensis. There was a possibility that, though Crichtonsaurus bohlini was a nomen dubium, its fossil material in fact belonged to Crichtonpelta. Arbour however, noted clear differences in the scapula and humerus between BXGMV0012-1 and LPM 101, a specimen previously referred to Crichtonsaurus bohlini: the scapula of the former has a tab-like acromion and its humerus a much longer deltopectoral crest.
Arbour established several distinguishing traits. One of these was an autapomorphy, unique derived trait: the apex of the (quadrato)jugal, or cheek, horn, is pointing upwards. Also a unique combination of in themselves not unique traits is present. The upper snout armour forms an amorphous mass, not clearly separated into distinctive tiles. The jugal bone is deeper than that of Pinacosaurus. The skull roof is not notched at the lacrimal bone as in Pinacosaurus grangeri. The squamosal horns are shorter than those of Pinacosaurus mephistocephalus. However, these horns are longer and more pointed than those of Gobisaurus or Shamosaurus. The point of the cheek horn is located on the rear edge. The transverse crest on the top of the rear skull has two points.
The holotype of Crichtonpelta is somewhat larger than Crichtonsaurus, itself about three to four metres long. It is uncertain whether Crichtonpelta already possessed a tail club.
- Arbour, Victoria M.; Currie, Philip J. (2015). "Systematics, phylogeny and palaeobiogeography of the ankylosaurid dinosaurs". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology: 1. doi:10.1080/14772019.2015.1059985.
- Junchang, Lü; Qiang, JI; Yubo, GAO; Zhixin, LI (2007). "A New Species of the Ankylosaurid Dinosaur Crichtonsaurus (Ankylosauridae: Ankylosauria) from the Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China". Acta Geologica Sinica - English Edition. 81 (6): 883–897. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6724.2007.tb01010.x.
- Arbour, Victoria Megan (2014). Systematics, evolution, and biogeography of the ankylosaurid dinosaurs (Ph.D thesis). University of Alberta. hdl:10402/era.37650.
- YANG Jingtao, YOU Hailu, XIE Li & ZHOU Hongrui, 2017, "A New Specimen of Crichtonpelta benxiensis (Dinosauria: Ankylosaurinae) from the Mid-Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China", Acta Geologica Sinica 91(3): 781-790