|Dinosaurs in Their Time
DinoGuide: Camptosaurus aphanoecetes
Our Camptosaurus was put on display in 1940, but wasn't recognized as a new species for another 65 years.
The museum's Camptosaurus was displayed as a wall mount, still partly embedded in the sandstone in which it had been found, for more than 60 years. In 2005, the museum decided to completely free the skeleton from the surrounding slab, so it could be displayed for the first time ever as a 3-D mount. But as museum preparator Yvonne Wilson scraped away the rock, she discovered evidence proving that this was actually a new animal. A scientific paper co-written by Wilson and Ken Carpenter of Denver Museum of Nature and Science established Camptosaurus as a new species in 2007. The name aphanoecetes means "hiding in plain sight," which this dinosaur did for decades.
Both young and
adult Camptosaurus skeletons have been found, ranging from
adults at a full-grown
23 feet to juveniles the size of a German shepherd dog. An early iguanodontian, Camptosaurus is smaller
than its later relative Iguanodon. Other differences include
its four toes (compared to Iguanodon's three) and the underdeveloped
spike on its thumb.
Camptosaurus is known from the western United States and from England, providing
evidence for a land connection between these two regions during
the latter part of the Jurassic Period. By the Early Cretaceous,
the continents had begun to separate, causing animals on each landmass
to evolve independently.
CARNEGIE SPECIMEN NUMBER:
SCIENTIFIC NAME MEANING:
"Flexible reptile, hiding in plain sight"
Dinosauria : Ornithischia : Ornithopoda : Camptosauridae
to 27 feet (8.2 meters)
FORMATION & LOCALITY:
Formation; Dinosaur National Monument, Uintah County, Utah
Earl Douglass and field crew, 1922
Late Jurassic, 145–150 million years ago
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