Fun Scutellosaurus Facts For Kids

Shivangi Pandey
Nov 29, 2022 By Shivangi Pandey
Originally Published on Sep 27, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Here are some exciting Scutellosaurus facts for you!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

Scutellosaurus was a tiny ornithischian dinosaur species, that may have been predominantly bipedal but had forelimbs evolved enough to provide quadrupedal support for tasks such as eating. Scutellosaurus also possessed a coating of armor scutes over its back, which offered flexible yet strong armor against predator teeth and claws.

This armor, in conjunction with the ornithischian hip configuration, defines Scutellosaurus as one of the first thyreophoran dinosaurs, often known as armored dinosaurs that existed around 196 million years ago in what is now Arizona, USA, during the early portion of the Jurassic Period.

This species was not closely related to birds but has some similarities.

Douglas Lawler discovered the first Scutellosaurus fossils, which comprised a nearly complete skeleton, in the Kayenta Formation of Arizona in 1971. Its weight was estimated to be 22 lb (10 kg) and was 19.7 in (50 cm) tall.

For more relatable content, check out these Chromogisaurus facts and Yunnanosaurus facts for kids.

Scutellosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Scutellosaurus'?

The name of these armored dinosaurs is pronounced as 'skoo-TEL-o-SAWR-us'. It was a herbivore dinosaur named by Edwin H. Colbert.

What type of dinosaur was a Scutellosaurus?

This species of armored dinosaurs were once assumed that it was linked to Lesothosaurus diagnosticus, a primitive ornithischian, and thus put in the Fabrosauridae family; however, Scutellosaurus had scutes, whilst the fabrosaurs did not.

Scutellosaurus is more closely linked to stegosaurs and ankylosaurs in the suborder Thyreophora due to the presence of scutes and other skeletal characteristics such as the curvature and form of the lower jaw.

Scutellosaurus is currently widely regarded as the most primitive known member of the Thyreophora. It belonged to the Archosauria class.

In which geological period did the Scutellosaurus roam the earth?

Thyreophora was a varied group of ornithischians that lived from the Early Jurassic period to the end of the Cretaceous period. Thyreophoran's evolved huge body size, quadrupedality, and sophisticated chewing processes lived throughout the Middle and Late Jurassic period, and members of the group include some of the most famous dinosaurs, like the plated Stegosaurus and the club-tailed Ankylosaurus.

When did the Scutellosaurus become extinct?

Scutellosaurus dinosaur is an extinct genus of Thyreophora ornithischian dinosaur of Archosauria class, that lived approximately in the Late Jurassic era between 200 million years ago and 196 million years ago.

Where did a Scutellosaurus live?

This dinosaur lived in the Kayenta Formation that runs from eastern Arizona to western Utah over the southern Colorado Plateau.

Geologists have classified it into two types: a 'typical facies' or 'sandy facies' that produces the massive Vermillion Cliffs that run east to west over the southern plateau, and a 'silty facies', which is limited to exposures in eastern Arizona.

What was a Scutellosaurus' habitat?

The Scutellosaurus armored dinosaurs' fossil was all recovered from the Lower Jurassic Kayenta Formation on Navajo Nation grounds in northern Arizona.

On the Colorado Plateau, the Kayenta Formation is one of the numerous formations that make up the Upper Triassic to Lower Jurassic Glen Canyon Group. They form a dense assemblage of terrestrial sediments that accumulated in a back-arc basin created by Pacific plate subduction beneath North America's western border.

The region was characterized by an arid environment with episodic wet intervals that deposited local fluvial and freshwater lacustrine sediments during the time.

Who did a Scutellosaurus live with?

It might have lived alongside the dinosaurs present with it 196 million years ago.

How long did a Scutellosaurus live?

The average armored dinosaurs' lifetime was estimated to be between 20-80 years. The lifetime of various dinosaurs differed.

How did they reproduce?

Details on the mating rites have yet to be found and are very unlikely. Dinosaurs built nests in burrows or bed scrapes.

They deposited massive eggs with a strong layered shell there.

All of the eggs were amniotic in nature, which means that the embryo was protected by a membrane that also supplied oxygen and other nutrients to the fetus.

It has also been revealed that after laying the eggs, female dinosaurs underwent a physiological transformation in which they developed an exterior bone that delivered the calcium needed to create robust eggshells.

Scutellosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Scutellosaurus look like?

Scutellosaurus lawleri was a lightweight dinosaur that could possibly walk on its hind legs. It possessed an exceptionally long tail, presumably to counteract the weight of the armored body, and long arms, implying it browsed on all fours.

The fossil evidence includes two fragmentary skeletons discovered in Arizona, however, only the lower jaw of the head has been recovered. There were also hundreds of scutes flowing from its neck to its back and all the way down to its tail. These formed parallel rows, up to five rows on each side.

It also possessed two rows of scutes, or exterior plates, that ran from neck to tail. Some of the shields were flat, while others had pits in them.

It had a very long tail.

How many bones did a Scutellosaurus have?

Scutellosaurus skin has hundreds of primitive bony plates (scutes) covering its back and neck that were recovered. Some scutes were flat, while others were pitted. It was bipedal, not quadrupedal, which was unusual for an armored dinosaur, but it had a long tail and long arms, so it could have browsed on all fours.

How did they communicate?

Dinosaurs most likely communicated visually as well as verbally. Defensive posture, courting activity, and territorial conflicts were most likely accompanied by both verbal and visual displays.

Hoots and hollers, cracking noises, dancing and song, and even symbolic love cries performed with colorful plumage were probably part of such exchanges. Clues from the fossil record and contemporary species linked to the ancient creatures, such as birds and crocodiles, suggest how the ancient creatures may have communicated.

How big was a Scutellosaurus?

Scutellosaurus size grew to be 5-6.6 ft (1.5-2 m) long and 19.7 in (50 cm) tall. Its skull was around 3.5 in (9 cm) long, with numerous wide incisors and a row of fluted leaf-shaped Scutellosaurus teeth that appear to be suited for plant-eating. It had a long tail and a long body form and bony plates of armor.

How fast could a Scutellosaurus move?

One of the most important discoveries of this study was that Scutellosaurus (small shield lizard) was bipedal based on limb proportions and postcranial skeletal evaluations. As so, it is the only known bipedal thyreophoran.

It was thought that when thyreophorans developed into larger and more highly armored forms, they lost the ability to walk on two legs. Although the specific configuration of Scutellosaurus' dermal armor is unknown, the researchers investigated the idea that thicker armor caused these dinosaurs to adopt a quadrupedal position.

How much did a Scutellosaurus weigh?

Scutellosaurus weight was something about 22 lb (10 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no names that distinguish between male and female dinosaurs based on sex. However, these creatures exhibited sexual dimorphism, which meant that men and females differed in shape, size, and color.

What would you call a baby Scutellosaurus?

Because they hatched from Scutellosaurus eggs nest, we may apply the generic word that is used for all reptiles to dinosaurs as well. A hatchling or a nestling is what a baby dinosaur may be called.

What did they eat?

Thyreophoran suborder dinosaurs were varied and significant terrestrial herbivore in nature.

How aggressive were they?

Because of the limited space for the brain in its massively reinforced armored skull, it would most likely have been relegated to instinctual reflexes. Despite its tiny brain capacity, it may have been able to learn from experience, which resulted in an unpredictable and aggressive dinosaur.

Did you know...

A detailed examination of Scutellosaurus skeleton bones reveals that this dinosaur developed slowly during its existence. This research backs with previous findings that thyreophorans had lower metabolic rates than other dinosaurs, including closely related ornithischians.

Why are they called Scutellosaurus?

Scutellosaurus is a genus name that means 'small-shielded lizard' and is derived from the Latin word 'scutellum' which means 'little shield' and the Greek word 'sauros' which means 'lizard'. It was named by Edwin H. Colbert.

Who discovered the Scutellosaurus?

Mr. David Lawler, then a summer intern at the MNA, found the first ornithischian dinosaur bones from the Kayenta Formation in June 1971. He found a fairly complete postcranial skeleton of an armored ornithischian dinosaur, as well as a few cranial parts.

Mr. William Amaral found a second bigger, but less complete specimen of Scutellosaurus lawleri (MNA.V.1752) in Gold Spring Wash in July 1977. The late Edwin H. Colbert described these two specimens.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable facts, check out these Paronychodon fun facts and Antetonitrus fun facts for kids pages.

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

Second image by Nobu Tamura.

Scutellosaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?


what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

22 lb (10 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

5-6.6 ft (1.5-2 m)

How Tall Were They?

19.7 in (50 cm)








Clade Thyreophora

Scientific Name

Scutellosaurus lawleri

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

The Kayenta Formation

Where Did They Live?

Arizona in the USA
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 Shivangi Pandey

Bachelor of Fashion Technology specializing in Fashion Merchandising

Shivangi Pandey picture

Shivangi PandeyBachelor of Fashion Technology specializing in Fashion Merchandising

Shivangi is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Fashion Technology from the National Institute of Fashion Technology. She has a strong passion for the English language and communication, with a keen interest in fashion blogging. Shivangi's educational background and interests complement her ability to create engaging and informative content for readers.

Read full bio >