Fun Scelidosaurus Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Scelidosaurus Facts For Kids

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The Scelidosaurus has been called one of the earliest nearly complete known dinosaurs in history. It was discovered as a nearly complete skeleton specimen from Charmouth, Dorset in the British Isles. The Scelidosaurus skeleton is the only dinosaur found in Ireland to date. Its modern description took long enough to be finally materialized in 2020! After the Stegosaurs' initial unearthing in the 1850s, the Scelidosaurus came to be known by this name in 1859 thanks to Richard Owen. Scelidosaurus harrisonii named by Owen in 1861 is the only species that is considered valid today. He had also proposed another species in 1966 which is yet to be considered.

Scelidosaurus was an early type of plant-eating dinosaur with rows of spikes and bony plates on its skin, placed in a linear fashion up to the tail. It was a thyreophoran that lived during the Early Jurassic, 208-194 million years ago. Scelidosaurus specimens have been found on three continents. The search of its fossils led to its discovery in England, Ireland, and Arizona, in the United States. It is one of the earliest and most basal of the armored dinosaurs.

For more relatable content, check out these Zhenyuanlong facts and Ledumahadi facts for kids.

Fun Scelidosaurus Facts For Kids

What did they prey on?


What did they eat?


Average litter size?


How much did they weigh?

595.2 lb (270 kg)

How long were they?

12.5-13.1 ft (3.8-4 m)

How tall were they?


What did they look like?

Quadrupedal dinosaur

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Natural disasters

Where were they found?



Charmouth Mudstone Formation near Charmouth in Dorset, England









Scientific Name

Scelidosaurus harrisonii

How scary were they?


How loud were they?


How intelligent were they?


Scelidosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Scelidosaurus '?

Scelidosaurus pronunciation is supposed to be 'Skel-is-doe-sore-us' meaning 'the limb lizard'.

What type of dinosaur was a Scelidosaurus?

The Scelidosaurus belongs to the genus Scelidosaurus, which is named so with the intended meaning of 'limb lizard' from the Greek word meaning 'rib of beef' and 'sauros' meaning 'lizard'. It is a herbivorous armored ornithischian dinosaur with plated skin called scutes along its body and four legs belonging to the Jurassic times from Charmouth, Dorset in the British Isles.

In which geological period did the Scelidosaurus roam the Earth?

From the remains of the family of these Scelidosaurus, we have estimated that these dinosaurs lived on Earth during the Early Jurassic Period, contemporary to the Sinemurian to Pliensbachian stages around 194 million years ago.

When did the Scelidosaurus become extinct?

According to their fossil discovery, it has been approximated that the Scelidosaurus is only lived to the Lower Jurassic Epoch, which is assumed to be its period of extinction.

Where did a Scelidosaurus live?

The discovery of Scelidosaurus (genus Scelidosaurus) fossils was related to the supercontinent Laurasia. Its fossils have been found in the Charmouth Mudstone Formation near Charmouth in Dorset, England, and the search is described as excellent preservation of fossils.

What was a Scelidosaurus's habitat?

Scelidosaurus' are believed to have lived in a terrestrial habitat in the British Isles. According to many studies done on dinosaur species, its range is mostly restricted to the areas along ancient rivers and streams. They would roam in search of food inside the forested floodplains and densely vegetated swamps and lakes or near the sea.

Who did a Scelidosaurus live with?

Scelidosaurus dinosaurs lived through the Jurassic period with other dinosaur species like Oviraptor, Segnosaurus, Khaan, and Tarbosaurus who possibly lived in the same region as them.

How long did a Scelidosaurus live?

Scelidosaurus dinosaurs are believed to have lived during the Early Jurassic, 208-194 million years ago. They primarily existed from 208.5 million years ago to the Lower Jurassic Epoch.

How did they reproduce?

The Scelidosaurus belonged to the Jurassic period in history. Research suggests they reproduced by laying eggs, meaning they were oviparous.  

Scelidosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Scelidosaurus look like?

An article with the cast of the most complete Scelidosaurus dinosaur is a modern piece found on display at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre. A Scelidosaurus dinosaur fossil suggests that a full-grown dinosaur was not very large with only average height. They are often compared to later non-avian dinosaurs and even crocodiles. Still, there remains tell us that they were a species within the medium size range when talking in terms of the Early Jurassic species with longer legs and medium tails. These armored dinosaurs had bony plates from the skull to the tail known as scutes and bony spikes on the skin.

The specimen shows it had longer hindlimbs than the forelimbs. The hindlimbs and the forelimbs were both used for locomotion, which shows not much difference. Norman provided in one of his articles about the autapomorphies of the limb lizard, shedding light on the unique characters of the skull. They had front snout bones and the premaxillae. They also had a common rough central extension, bearing a small upper beak. The Scelidosaurus fossil article shows that the roof of the lizard-like dinosaur's nasal cavity is formed by special plates above the vomers, known as the 'epivomers'. The rear of the skull shows a fusion with a pair of large curved horn-shaped osteoderms on its upper edge. The lower jaw exhibits little exostosis, limited to the angular, which signifies the lack of an attached osteoderm.

The Scelidosaurus was a quadrupedal dinosaur.

How many bones did a Scelidosaurus have?

Although the exact number of bones possessed by the Scelidosaurus dinosaur is unknown, it is nearly a complete skeleton and one of the most complete skeletons in the history of the British Isles. The specimen is one of the most primitive thyrophoreans and had a complete structure discovered. The skull and the bones from the legs form the part of the bones discovered so far.

How did they communicate?

It is unknown how exactly the Scelidosaurus dinosaur communicated with each other or dinosaurs of other species. But, Philip J. Senter, in the review of prehistoric animal sounds, a professor of Zoology at Fayetteville State University and an American paleontologist famous for his research works that shed light on dinosaur paleobiology, believed that the dinosaurs depended on hissing, clapping their jaws together, grinding mandibles against upper jaws, rubbing scales, and by the use of environmental elements like splashing against water for establishing contacts.

It is also believed that dinosaurs communicated vocally and visually. These two prevalent modes of communication were exercised most during defensive posturing, courtship behavior, and territory fights.

How big was a Scelidosaurus?

The exact measurements regarding a Scelidosaurus' height and length are unknown; however, the Scelidosaurus' size is estimated to be about 12.5-13.1 ft (3.8-4 m) long. They are supposed to be considerably larger in length but shorter in terms of height when compared to an average human.

How fast could a Scelidosaurus move?

It was a largely quadrupedal animal that moved using all four legs. They are believed to have been actively mobile, also owing to their comparatively smaller size.

How much did a Scelidosaurus weigh?

The Cretaceous Scelidosaurus dinosaur weight is based on the classification of the specimen collected. This dinosaur is estimated to have weighed around 595.2 lb (270 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Female and male Scelidosaurus dinosaurs are not given any different names.

What would you call a baby Scelidosaurus?

Since the Scelidosaurus dinosaur was oviparous and the young ones hatched from eggs, the young ones of Scelidosaurus sauropods can be called hatchling or nestling. This can be used for all dinosaurs as a generalized system since all were oviparous.

What did they eat?

Unlike dryptosaurs dinosaurs in history, they were quadrupedal meaning they used all four limbs in locomotion. Evidence from the Scelidosaurus skeleton suggests they fed on low scrubby plants, using their small, elongated head but processing using their large gut. Scelidosaurus was not very armored but had long and horizontal rows of scutes. These scutes were oval and keeled in shape! They stretched over the entire body along the neck, back, and tail.

Like most other thyreophorans in history, the Scelidosaurus dinosaur is known to be dependant on plants, meaning it was herbivorous. Scelidosaurus dinosaurs had less complex, leaf-shaped teeth, smaller in size, and suitable for feeding on vegetation, unlike most later ornithischian groups that possessed teeth for grinding plant material for diet. Their jaws were capable of only vertical movement owing to a short jaw joint. Paul Barrett concluded that the Scelidosaurus fed with a precise but noncomplex up-and-down jaw movement, mashing the food between the inner side of the upper teeth and the outer side of the lower teeth. The teeth actually did not need to touch each other. In this particular aspect, the Scelidosaurus dinosaur had a close resemblance to stegosaurids. Both are said to possess primitive teeth and simple jaws. All this evidence suggests that its primary diet would have been ferns or conifers.

How aggressive were they?

According to their plant-based diet and the structure of teeth, they are expected to have been non-combative in nature.

Did you know...

Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) gave the term during the spring of 1842. The naturalist and discoverer of the species described the Scelidosaurus dinosaur as the creature with preserved hindquarters, giving it the name of Scelidosaurus dinosaur just after one year of its discovery.

Is Scelidosaurus an Ankylosaurus?

Ankylosaurs, a group of the order Ornithischia, are herbivorous dinosaurs. Most of the dinosaurs in the group possess armor-like bony osteoderms, something resembling a turtle. Although we have sufficient knowledge about the species, the placement of the group within the ankylosaurs group has been a matter of debate among paleontologists for 150 years now. The matter remains so due to the limited knowledge about the evolution of the bony osteoderms or armored dinosaurs. Presently, most specimens indicate that the Scelidosaurus taxon is sisters of Thyreophora, the Stegosaurs, and Ankylosaurs in the family tree.

Who discovered Scelidosaurus?

Scelidosaurus was discovered in Charmouth by a quarry owner named James Harrison. He sent the limb bones to Professor Richard Owen in London for analysis. After analyzing the specimens, Owen found that they belonged to a previously unknown species and called the species Scelidosaurus. Scelidosaurus meant 'limb lizards with scutes'. An entire skeleton of the same was found by 1863. However, it took the scientists nearly 130 years to officially recognize the holotype as Scelidosaurus dinosaur.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Jeholosaurus interesting facts and Syntarsus surprising facts pages.

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

Second image by O.C. Marsh

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