Fun Niobrarasaurus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 22, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Niobrarasaurus facts are about a dinosaur from the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of Gove County, Kansas.
?
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

Niobrarasaurus is an ankylosaur that existed 82-87 million years ago and was part of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member, which is a part of the Niobrara Formation. This dinosaur was a part of the Dinosauria clade.

Its suborder, family, and genus are Ankylosauria, Nodosauridae, and Niobrarasaurus, respectively. Despite its terrestrial nature, the fossil of this dinosaur was originally found in a marine environment.

The type specimen of Niobrarasaurus was discovered by Virgil Cole in 1930. The name was given much later, in the year 1995 by K. Carpenter et.

al., after the dinosaur was transferred to its new genus. Despite being a member of Ankylosauria, this dinosaur was not club-tailed, like its relative Nodosaurus. The Niobrarasaurus skeletal remains are incomplete, and hence, not a lot has been deduced about this animal.

However, the collected specimen did allow researchers to estimate the length of the dinosaur at 21.3 ft (6.5 m) and its height at 4.4 T (4000 kg). Being a herbivore, this dinosaur fed on vegetation that was low-lying and near to the ground.

To learn more about Niobrarasaurus, keep reading! You can also check out arkansaurus and paranthodon.

Niobrarasaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Niobrarasaurus'?

Niobrarasaurus is pronounced as 'Ne-o-bra-rah-sor-us'. The name was given by Carpenter et. al. in 1995.

What type of dinosaur was a Niobrarasaurus?

Niobrarasaurus was an ankylosaur, belonging to the Dinosauria clade. Its suborder, family, and genus are Ankylosauria, Nodosauridae, and Niobrarasaurus, respectively. Members of this group are characterized by the presence of bony armors and the lack of clubbed tails.

In which geological period did the Niobrarasaurus roam the earth?

Niobrarasaurus coleii roamed the Earth 82-87 million years ago. This era was a part of the Upper or Late Cretaceous period.

When did the Niobrarasaurus become extinct?

This dinosaur probably became extinct during the Late Cretaceous era itself.

Where did the Niobrarasaurus live?

The fossils of the type specimen were excavated from the Niobrara Formation in Western Kansas. The fossil remains were excavated from the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation. Interestingly, the fossils were found deposited in a Cretaceous Sea, even though members of this genus were not marine.

What was a Niobrarasaurus' habitat?

The Niobrara Chalk Formation of western Kansas was formed from the accumulated calcium carbonate deposition of microorganisms. This formation took place during the Late Cretaceous. This habitat was characterized by ferns, cycads, and so on.

Who did the Niobrarasaurus live with?

Even though the fossil remains of Niobrarasaurus which were collected from Gove County, Kansas belonged to several individuals, that does not confirm whether this dinosaur was originally social or solitary. However, these dinosaurs certainly did congregate for some unknown purpose.

In general, ankylosaurs are thought to have been solitary, as their bony body armor provided them with enough protection. The same might have been true for Niobrarasaurus.

How long did a Niobrarasaurus live?

The ankylosaur Niobrarasaurus may have had a life span of 70-80 years.

How did they reproduce?

This ankylosaur of the Dinosauria clade reproduced by laying eggs, similar to other dinosaurs. Though the reproductive nature of Niobrarasaurus has not been described, it can be assumed that they made nests and may have taken part in parental care.

Niobrarasaurus Fun Facts

What did a Niobrarasaurus look like?

Researchers have been able to recreate the physical appearance of a Niobrarasaurus, despite a lack of complete fossil remains.

This ankylosaur was stout in appearance and was quadrupedal in nature. The discovered fossils indicated that these dinosaurs probably had bony plates all over their body and appeared armored.

It also had a tail, however, the tail was not clubbed. This feature is unique, as most members of the suborder Ankylosauria had a large club at the end of their tails. Paleontologists have postulated that members of the Niobrarasaurus genus were very closely related to the Nodosaurs.

Niobrarasaurus was named by Carpenter et. al. in 1995.
*We've been unable to source an image of Niobrarasaurus and have used an image of Nodosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Nodosaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com

How many bones did a Niobrarasaurus have?

A complete skeleton of Niobrarasaurus coleii is yet to be excavated, so the total number of bones that formed the skeletal structure of this dinosaur has not been ascertained. The bones that have been found to date include parts of the humerus, chevron, vertebrae, radius, ulna, and teeth.

How did they communicate?

The methods of communication used by Niobrarasaurus are yet to be described. However, the patterns of communication in ankylosaurs have been well-studied among researchers. Dinosaurs of this group had convoluted respiratory tracts. Such a feature aided the animals in modifying sounds in order to communicate with each other. Therefore, the ankylosaur Niobrarasaurus may have done the same.

How big were the Niobrarasaurus?

The collected specimen of Niobrarasaurus suggests that this dinosaur had a length of about 21.3 ft (6.5 m). In comparison to the closely related Nodosaurus, which grew to a range of 13-20 ft (4-6 m), the Niobrarasaurus was a bit longer.

How fast could a Niobrarasaurus move?

Ankylosaurs are assumed to have been slow-moving animals, who only made quick movements when required. So, Niobrarasaurus may have been the same way.

How much did a Niobrarasaurus weigh?

The weight of the dinosaurs of this new genus is estimated to be 4.4 T (4000 kg). However, a much lower estimate of 0.2-0.5 T (227-453 kg) has also been hypothesized.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names to refer to the male and female dinosaurs of this genus.

What would you call a baby Niobrarasaurus?

A baby Niobrarasaurus would be known as a hatchling.

What did they eat?

This dinosaur of the Late Cretaceous was herbivorous and probably fed on plants like conifers, cycads, ferns, and so on. It has been estimated that this dinosaur of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of Kansas preferred foraging on low-growing vegetation near the ground.

How aggressive were they?

Since this ankylosaur was a herbivore, it is highly likely that it wasn't very aggressive in nature.

Did you know...

Niobrarasaurus coleii was named Hierosaurus by Mehl in the year 1936. The original descriptor of this genus was also Mehl.

There are a few theories to explain the reason behind the discovery of the type specimen of this dinosaur in a Cretaceous sea, despite this dinosaur not being marine in nature.

One of the reasons that have been suggested is a group of Niobrarasaurus may have been trying to cross a river when floodwater resulted in the drowning of the weaker members.

Another theory suggests that these dinosaurs died near the shore, and their remains eventually ended up in the sea.

How did the Niobrarasaurus get its name?

The Niobrarasaurus name was given by K. Carpenter et. al. in the year 1995.

The name literally translates to 'Niobrara lizard'. The name was given to mark the place of discovery of the Niobrarasaurus fossils, as its remains were discovered from the Niobrara Formation, in its Smoky Hill Chalk Member. This place is located in Gove County of Western Kansas in North America.

The species name 'coleii' was given in honor of the geologist Virgil Cole, who was the one to collect the type specimen in Kansas. Interestingly, the discovery of this armored dinosaur was accidental. Virgil Cole was surface mapping for Gulf oil when he discovered the remains of this dinosaur.

Were Niobrarasaurus herbivores?

Niobrarasaurus has been described as a genus of herbivorous dinosaurs. It probably fed on the dominant flora in its region at that time.

Though the exact feeding habits of Niobrarasaurus have not been recorded, the feeding behavior of ankylosaurs has been well-researched. These dinosaurs were non-selective browsers, who may have fed on leaves and pulpy fruits, in addition to ferns and shrubs.

Fossil studies have shown that these dinosaurs had weak jaws, so it is likely that they could not feed on very tough food material. However, the nature of the jaw has been a matter of debate and requires more research.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Crichtonsaurus facts or pawpawsaurus facts.

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

Main image by Conty

Second image by R. Lull

*We've been unable to source an image of Niobrarasaurus and have used an image of Nodosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Nodosaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

Read full bio >