Fun Acanthopholis Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
Oct 20, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Sep 25, 2021
Edited by Christina Harrison
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Acanthopholis facts include that this is a species of dinosaur with a herbivore diet. The dinosaur skin is made of armor.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.7 Min

The Acanthopholis is a genus of dinosaurs in the family Nodosauridae. This Ankylosaurian dinosaur lived in the late Cretaceous period of England. There have been many issues with these early named dinosaur genera as many species have been named, relocated, then moved to another genus and again put back in the same one. The diet was totally herbivorous for this dinosaur. The dinosaur was said to be quadrupedal and used all legs for walking. The name, meaning spiny scales, has only one single species known called Acanthopholis horrida. These were armored dinosaurs and the armour consisted of oval plates set horizontally into the skin. Long spikes were said to be protruding from the neck and shoulder area along the spine.

This genus of quadrupedal dinosaurs was first placed in the family Scelidosauridae by Huxley. It was Huxley who described the genus in 1867. However, in 1902, a separate family called Acanthopholididae was introduced by Nopcsa. This family was later regarded as a subfamily. It was corrected to Acanthopholidae in 1928. Acanthopholis armored dinosaurs are not considered a part of Nodosauridae in the suborder Ankylosauria. Remains and fossils of these dinosaurs from England were found by John Griffiths in 1865. The commercial fossil collector Griffiths found many dinosaur remains which included osteoderms. He then sold remains to Dr. John Percy. There is more to this story which we will read about in upcoming topics.

Discovered in England, the species was found to be a maximum of 18 ft (5.4 m) long and around 840 lb (381 kg) in weight. These dinosaurs were known to be living around 115-91 million years ago.

For more relatable content, check out these Kinnareemimus facts and Indosaurus fun facts for kids.

Acanthopholis Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Acanthopholis '?

The pronunciation of the name Acanthopholis is 'Ah-can-thoff-oh-liss'.

What type of dinosaur was an Acanthopholis?

The Acanthopholis is a genus of Ankylosaurian dinosaur with armour on its body and plant and vegetation as its diet. It is part of the family Nodosauridae and had a type species called Acanthopholis horrida. According to history, John Griffiths, a commercial fossil collector, found some remains of dinosaurs in 1865. These fossils also include osteoderms. He sold these fossils to a metallurgist called Dr. John Percy. Percy contacted Thomas Henry Huxley who paid Griffiths to dig up all fossils from the area. On orders of Huxley, Griffiths was able to find several additional bones and parts of the armour in the body. Huxley then named the armored dinosaur Acanthopholis horridus in the year 1867. The dinosaur's name comes from the Greek word meaning spine or thorn. This is in reference to the armour of the herbivore dinosaur species. Akantha refers to spikes and pholis means scale. The word horridus means frightening or rough in the Latin language. This type species name was later changed to horrida by Arthur Smith Woodward in 1890.

In which geological period did the Acanthopholis roam the Earth?

The Acanthopholis (meaning spiny scales) was a genus of quadrupedal dinosaur found in the late Cretaceous period in England.

When did the Acanthopholis become extinct?

These armored dinosaurs were known to have gone extinct around 115-91 million years ago. These dinosaurs were present in the late Cretaceous period.

Where did an Acanthopholis live?

Acanthopholis dinosaurs were known to be living in England throughout history. We have learnt in history that Griffiths found fossils of this dinosaur on the shoreline near Folkestone in Kent of England.

What was an Acanthopholis's habitat?

These plant-eating dinosaurs were known to live in terrestrial habitats. The main habitat consisted of western European woodlands of England and they lived in the late Cretaceous period.

Who did an Acanthopholis live with?

No content is available on the company these dinosaurs used to keep. They probably lived in small groups or in pairs like other herbivore dinosaurs which would probably have helped them fend away predators.

How long did an Acanthopholis live?

The life span of the Acanthopholis dinosaur is not known. There are not enough fossils available to know the life span of this armored dinosaur.

How did they reproduce?

We know that the dinosaur is an egg-laying species. Not much content is available on the reproduction procedure or the number of eggs these dinosaurs laid. In an overview, dinosaurs lay up to a cluster of three to five eggs, and sometimes the number can even go up to 20 eggs.

Acanthopholis Fun Facts

What did an Acanthopholis look like?

We know that the body of the dinosaur had armor with oval plates set horizontally in the skin. We can also see long spikes coming out of the neck and shoulder area along the spine. This is the reason the dinosaur is called spiny scales. The dinosaur was known to be quadrupedal and ate plant materials and other vegetation. We can assume a pointed beak and oval-shaped armor. The armor was similar to the present-day shell of a turtle. Keeled oval plates are seen horizontally placed which would have probably helped in protection against other predators.

The dinosaur was about 16 ft (4.8 m) long.

Acanthopholis facts are interesting.
*We've been unable to source an image of an Acanthopholis and have used a sketch of a herbivorous dinosaur instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of an Acanthopholis, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did an Acanthopholis have?

The number of bones is not known as only fragmented fossils have been found.

How did they communicate?

There is no information on how these dinosaurs communicated. Dinosaurs generally communicated visually and vocally. They probably even showed dominance against predators with different postures and used these postures to attract mates.

How big was an Acanthopholis?

This dinosaur is estimated to be about 10-18 ft long (3-5.4 m).

Although proper information is not available, the dinosaur is estimated to be about 8 ft (2.4 m) high.

How fast could an Acanthopholis move?

The speed is not known. As the species is quadrupedal, it would have been fairly quick.

How much did an Acanthopholis weigh?

The weight of the species is estimated to be about 840 lb (381 kg). However, proper information cannot be found.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the species are not given different names according to the information provided.

What would you call a baby Acanthopholis?

There is no information given for the baby of the Acanthopholis dinosaur.

What did they eat?

The main diet of the species was plants and vegetation as they were strictly a herbivorous species.

How aggressive were they?

As we know these dinosaurs were a plant-eating species, they probably would have been easy targets for predators. However, thick oval plates set into the skin were probably a formidable defense for these dinosaurs. Also, the lethal-looking spines protruding from the tail, neck, and shoulder area along the spine prevented carnivores from catching the Acanthopholis as an easy meal.

Did you know...

They were endemic to England.

They were quadrupedal.

They had only one species called Acanthopholis horrida.

What does the term Acanthopholis mean?

The word means spiny scales.

What plants did the Acanthopholis eat?

The plants' names are not known. History just says that they were a plant-eating species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Concavenator facts, or Camarillasaurus interesting facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable acanthopholis coloring pages.

Acanthopholis Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plants and vegetation

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?

Prickly spiny scales on a fairly small/medium-sized body

How Much Did They Weigh?

Estimated to be about 840 lb (381 kg)

Skin Type

Spiny skin

How Long Were They?

Estimated to be about 10-18 ft (3-5.4 m) long

How Tall Were They?

Estimated to be about 8 ft (2.4 m) high




Clade: Dinosauria





Scientific Name

Acanthopholis horrida

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial habitats

Where Did They Live?

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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