Armored dinosaur

Gastonia (dinosaur)

Gastonia is a genus of polacanthine ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of North America, around 125 million years ago. Closely related to Polacanthus, it has a sacral shield and large shoulder spikes. It is also the first polacanthine dinosaur to have been mounted for display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, together with the related Gargoyleosaurus. This dinosaur was found in the same quarry as Utahraptor.

Discovery and species

Named by James Kirkland in 1998 from material recovered in Grand County Utah, more complete material exists for Gastonia than for any other polacanthine ankylosaur. Unfortunately, a wealth of disarticulated material from a bonebed presents problems as it can be hard to tell how many spikes a particular Gastonia actually had. Gastonia was named after Robert Gaston.

The type species is G. burgei.

Popular Culture

  • Gastonia is featured in an episode of Paleoworld where it is presented as the most heavily armored dinosaur.
  • Gastonia is featured in a chapter of Raptor Red, Robert T. Bakker's fictional account of the events in the life of a female Utahraptor. Defense behaviors are described as an Acrocanthosaurus attacks a young Gastonia (without success). Later on, male Gastonia are shown to compete in leks, and losers wallow in shallow pools, sometimes exposing their armor-less bellies. Because of this, one is killed by a Utahraptor pack.
  • Gastonia appeared in an episode of Jurassic Fight Club, where it fights a Utahraptor.


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