Palaeoscincus (meaning "ancient skink") is a dubious genus of ankylosaurian dinosaur based on teeth from the mid-late Campanian-age Upper Cretaceous Judith River Formation of Montana. Like several other dinosaur genera named by Joseph Leidy (Deinodon, Thespesius, and Trachodon), it is an historically important genus with a convoluted taxonomy that has been all but abandoned by modern dinosaur paleontologists. Because of its wide use early in the century, it was somewhat well-known to the general public, often through illustrations of an animal with the armor of Edmontonia and the tail club of an ankylosaurid.
Six species have been referred to this genus over the years:
- P. africanus, a partial jaw from the Tithonian-Valanginian-age Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Kirkwood Formation of South Africa, now known as the stegosaurid Paranthodon;
- P. asper, a dubious tooth taxon from the late Campanian-age Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada, now referred to Euoplocephalus;
- P. costatus, the type species, known from a single tooth;
- P. latus from the late Maastrichtian-age Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation of Wyoming, also based on a single tooth, now believed to have come from a pachycephalosaurid;
- "P. magoder", a nomen nudum name from a faunal list;
- P. rugosidens, the best-known species, a skull and partial skeleton from the late Campanian-age Two Medicine Formation of Montana, now known as Edmontonia rugosidens. It was this species that was portrayed in most restorations of the genus.
Today, the genus is considered to be an indeterminate ankylosaurian, perhaps an indeterminate nodosaurid.
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- ^ Carpenter, K. (2001). Phylogenetic analysis of the Ankylosauria. In: Carpenter, K. (ed.). The Armored Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press:Bloomington, 455-483. ISBN 0-253-33964-2
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- ^ Ford, T.L. (2000). A review of ankylosaur osteoderms from New Mexico and a preliminary review of ankylosaur armor. In: Lucas, S.G., and Heckert, A.B. (eds.). Dinosaurs of New Mexico. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 17:157-176.