Discovery and speciesEdit
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 discoverer of the genus. Robert Gaston is a paleoartist, who makes a living from creating museum quality casts and replicas of fossils for private and public collections.
The type species, G. burgei, was found in rocks of the Cedar Mountain Formation (Yellow Cat member), which has been dated to 126 million years ago.
In popular cultureEdit
Gastonia was featured in a chapter of Raptor Red, Robert T. Bakker's fictional account of the events in the life of a female Utahraptor. Bakker described defense behaviors as an Acrocanthosaurus attacks a young Gastonia (without success). Later in the novel, male Gastonia are shown to compete in leks, and losers wallow in shallow pools, sometimes exposing their armor-free bellies. Such behavior was speculation informed by modern animals and not based directly on fossil evidence.