Armored Dinosaurs List: Extinct From The Earth!

Abhijeet Modi
Nov 01, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Jan 02, 2022
Armored dinosaurs list will help you about the flat bony plates comprising the armor of these animals.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

Did you know that the Ankylosaurus is often compared to a military vehicle due to the large armor that it bears on its back?

Also, did you know that this mammal is often referred to as the armored lizard! To know more such interesting facts about the ankylosaurus, you must take a look at this article.

The ankylosaurus is known for its heavily armored body with large horn-like protrusion rising out of the dinosaur’s back. Ankylosaurus skull had a broad beak on the premaxilla. The word ankylosaurus is derived from its Greek roots, which literally means a fused lizard.

The dinosaur was given the name fused lizard due to the fusion of its skull bones with other body parts, which made the dinosaur appear extremely robust. These dinosaur species lived in the late Cretaceous period, around 60-70 million years ago. They mainly habitat in North America, in the regions of the western United States and Canada. The ankylosaurus species belonged to the armored dinosaur genus and were a part of the nonavian dinosaur group that lasted till the very end of the entire dinosaur race. The fossils of these dinosaur species have been found in geological formations of western North America and also in some regions of South Dakota.

The ankylosaurus was named by Barnum Brown, an American archeologist who named the species in 1908. A species of this genus is also named Magniventris, which means ‘great belly.’ Although there have been several excavations that have revealed the spiked dinosaur, a complete skeleton of the ankylosaurus is yet to be discovered. Other members of this genus have clearly been represented by sufficient excavated materials and fossils that date back to the Cretaceous period. Due to the distinctive nature and characteristics of all the dinosaurs of this genus, the ankylosaurus has been classified into several groups based on the structure of their skull, their skeleton, and most importantly, their fossils.

Their genus name is Thyreophora. Throughout natural history, armored dinosaurs have been known for their body armor. While saying body armor, it means that they have bony spikes, which are sharp spikes and have thick armor plating all over their body. Natural history means they were alive around a million years ago. They majorly existed as herbivorous dinosaurs, basically, plant-eater, but they did have carnivorous dinosaurs as well. And they are currently turned into fossil specimens, as found during vertebrate paleontology. They have tail clubs, which is a bony mass at the end of the tail. Their skull is kept as an ornate skull if a complete skull is found in the fossil record for display purposes. They have small limb bones and a small skull, a huge upper jaw, leaf-shaped teeth but small teeth, mainly plant-eaters, armored plating.

After reading about the armored plates of the dinosaurs, do check what species of dinosaur is Barney and dinosaur with spikes on back here on Kidadl.

Description Of Armored Dinosaurs

The Ankylosaurus was possibly one of the largest non avian dinosaurs of its time. This plant-eating species had four limbs, and the quadrupedal had a broad and rugged build. Starting with the skull, the ankylosaurus had a wide and flat skull studded with two horns that pointed backward and protruded from behind the skull. Behind these two horns, there existed two smaller horns that pointed downwards. Most dinosaurs of this species had nostrils that faced towards the front, while only a few had their nostrils facing the sides.

The animal had its jaw covered in a hard beak with several rows of sharp teeth located behind it. The back of the armored dinosaur was covered in bony plates, also known as osteoderms. These bony plates became rings that covered some parts of its skull and neck, which were completely fused in the body of the animal. This not only increased the strength of the dinosaur but also helped it in protecting the most vital section of its body, the neck.

Armored Dinosaurs List Based On Types Of Skull

The immense excavations have led archeologists to conclude that there are a total of three types of ankylosaurus skulls. These skulls differ in detail, which is thought to be a result of the decay of fossils during the period of fossilization over millions of years.

This phenomenon is called taphonomy. Like most dinosaurs, the skull of the Ankylosaurus was triangular and flat and much wider when compared to its length. The broader back of the skull has hard horns/spikes protruding from it. The front of the skull had a broad beak that the dinosaur used for ingestion. As the skull was flat from the front, the eye sockets did not face the side and were actually located pointing towards the front.

The Ankylosaurus had a hard and rugged skull that protected its brain and also harnessed its horns which the dinosaur used in its defense. The horns also developed crests in species of Pinacosaurus and Euoplocephalus. The frontal region of the skull had scale-like patterns called caputegulum, which varied from species to species of the ankylosaurus genus bearing hexagonal or diamond-shaped nasal caputegulum in the front with smaller ones on the sides of the skull.

Postcranial Skeleton

The structure of the Ankylosaurus is little known when it comes to its pelvis, tail, and four limbs. Although several 3-D mappings and other archeological evidence have led the scientists to believe that the quadrupedal had shorter forelimbs when compared to its hind limbs.

It was further concluded that the hind legs had three toes while the figure is unknown for the front limbs. The vertebra of the Ankylosaurus was found to have broad neural spines that increased towards the body. The frontal part of the vertebra was well developed and showed the presence of large ligaments, which helped the dinosaur in supporting its head while the rear extended as the long, heavy, and spiky tail gradually narrowed towards the end. The lower region of the vertebrates hard plates was so tightly spaced that the ankylosaurus had a restricted downward movement.

Even Tyrannosaurus Rex used to struggle to prey on the armored dinosaurs.

List Based On Types Of Armor

The most important structure for which the Ankylosaurus is known is its hard, bony shell. The armor consists of bony knobs and plates known as osteoderms which are engraved on the skin of the Ankylosaurus itself.

Although there has been little evidence showing the existence of the armor, archeologists have made inferences based on the archeological evidence. It is often proposed that these osteoderms had a length of approximately 14 in (35 cm) with a thickness of 0.4 in (1 cm). These osteoderms were hollow on the inner side and were generally composed of a thin wall. When compared to the Euoplocephalus, the Ankylosaurus had relatively smoother armor.

In Ankylosaurids, these larger osteoderms were surrounded by smaller ones. The osteoderms had a flat surface with rounded margins. The Edmotonia had sharper margins that ran from one osteoderm to another.

Armored Dinosaurs List Based On Paleobiology

Paleobiology is the fossilization of plants and animals and its study from the Jurassic times. As you have already read above, the ankylosaurus was a herbivore as it survived on a plant-based diet.

Its wide beak helped the Ankylosaurus grab low-lying shrubs in its mouth for ingestion. This broad beak was absent in Euoplocephalus. Although it is significant from observations that the Ankylosaurus lived on a fibrous and woody diet, it is also estimated that the dinosaur had a varied appetite that consisted of fleshy fruits, leaves, and herbs. Such an appetite would have surely favored the dinosaur, keeping in mind its features like small diamond-shaped teeth, the wide, flat beak, and the muscular tongue. Some studies prove that the Ankylosaurus had an appetite of nearly 132 lb (60 kg) of nutritious vegetarian supplements. The adult had less sharp teeth when compared to the younger ones as the adults chewed their food and the broad rib cage suggests that most of the digestive work was done in the stomach itself.

The Ankylosaurus belongs to the family of Ankylosauridae with Anodontosaurus and Euoplocephalus as its near relative. Paleontologists and archeologists have estimated that the Ankylosaurus was a slow-moving dinosaur that's survived on plants and other vegetarian sources of nutrition. The dinosaur was found to have big sinus and nasal cavities that might have helped it dissipate heat and maintain water balance while helping it to vocalize. The thick spiked tail, covered in a layer of hard skin with a bony structure, had a tail club at its end, which the animal might have used for self-defense. The Ankylosaurus is known to have existed alongside the Nodosaur, but their ecosystems were quite different.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for armored dinosaurs list, then why not take a look at dinosaur fossils facts or dinosaur periods.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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