Juvenile ankylosaur specimens are very rare. A new ankylosaur, Liaoningosaurus paradoxus gen. et sp. nov., is described based on a beautifully preserved juvenile ankylosaur specimen from the famous Yixian Formation of Liaoning, China. Liaoningosaurus has a large bony plate (somewhat shell-like) shielding the abdomen. This discovery represents the first record of such a structure among dinosaurs. Although it has a number of distinct features seen in the family Ankylosauridae, a cladistic analysis placed Liaoningosaurus in the sister-family Nodosauridae. The 'intermediate' status of this taxon between the two ankylosaur families further supports the monophyly of Ankylosauria. This finding also documents the smallest known ankylosaur specimen and first complete nodosaurid specimen from Asia.
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