Nodosaur fossil in College Park

Yesterday’s news of the discovery of a baby dinosaur in the College Park perhaps added a new slogan to the the city’s official tag line – College Park – Home of Dinosaurs.

According to this Washington Post report, a local dinosaur tracker in College Park discovered the fossil of an armored dinosaur hatchling estimated to have lived 112 million years ago.

The discovery was made in 1977, but scientists at Johns Hopkins University waited until now to tell us about it. The fossil was identified as a baby nodosaur, of the family Nodosauridae — a short, plant-eating dino with both flat and spiky plates on its back.

The infant armored dinosaur, smaller than a dollar bill, apparently drowned in a flood plain not long after it hatched during the Early Cretaceous Period. Its remains were buried in sediment, fossilized and preserved in rock until 1997.

That’s when amateur fossil hunter Ray Stanford of College Park found the rock in College Park.

Last week, Stanford and Johns Hopkins University scientist David Weishampel described the fossil in an article published the Journal of Paleontology. And they gave the little dinosaur a name: Propanoplosaurus marylandicus.

Weishampel, professor of anatomy at the Hopkins School of Medicine, called the animal the youngest “nodosaur,” or armored dinosaur ever discovered, and the first hatchling of any species ever found in the eastern United States.