Ankylosauria is a group of herbivorous dinosaurs known for their heavy armor and tank-like appearance. These fascinating creatures lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, and their fossils have been found on every continent except Africa and Antarctica.


Ankylosaurs were built for defense, with rows of bony plates and spikes covering their bodies from head to tail. Some species, like Ankylosaurus, also had a large bony club at the end of their tails, which they could swing like a sledgehammer to deter predators. Despite their intimidating appearance, ankylosaurs were peaceful plant-eaters, using their small, leaf-shaped teeth to crop low-growing vegetation.

One of the most remarkable things about ankylosaurs is the diversity of their armor. Some species had flat, interlocking plates that formed a solid shield, while others had more flexible armor that allowed for greater mobility. The arrangement and shape of the armor also varied between species, with some sporting tall, pointed spikes and others having more rounded, low-profile plates.

One of the best-known ankylosaurs is Ankylosaurus magniventris, which lived in western North America during the late Cretaceous Period. This species could grow up to 30 feet long and weigh over 6 tons, making it one of the largest ankylosaurs ever discovered. Ankylosaurus had a wide, flat body, a low-slung head, and a massive club at the end of its tail, which could measure up to 3 feet long!

Fun Fact
Did you know that ankylosaurs had incredibly small brains for their body size? In fact, some species had brains that were no larger than a walnut! However, this doesn’t mean they were unintelligent. Ankylosaurs had a complex system of sinuses and air pockets in their skulls that helped protect their brains from injury, allowing them to use their armored heads like battering rams.

People Also Ask

  • How did ankylosaurs defend themselves?
  • What did ankylosaurs eat?
  • Are there any ankylosaur fossils with skin impressions?

How did ankylosaurs defend themselves? Ankylosaurs had several defenses against predators, including their thick, bony armor, their powerful tails, and their ability to hunker down and present a solid, protected surface. Some species also had spikes or plates around their eyes and nostrils, making it difficult for predators to target their vulnerable areas.

What did ankylosaurs eat? Ankylosaurs were herbivores, feeding on low-growing plants such as ferns, cycads, and early flowering plants. They had small, simple teeth that were adapted for cutting and shearing vegetation, and some species may have used their armored snouts to dig for roots and tubers.

Are there any ankylosaur fossils with skin impressions? Yes, there are several ankylosaur fossils that preserve impressions of their scaly, armored skin. One notable example is a fossil of the species Borealopelta markmitchelli, which was discovered in Alberta, Canada, in 2017. This exquisitely preserved specimen showed that Borealopelta had a complex pattern of scales and armor plates, with a reddish-brown coloration that may have helped it blend in with its environment.