Euoplocephalus

By | September 9, 2016

One of the largest of the armored dinosaurs (ankylosaurs), Euoplocephalus was twice the size of a rhinoceros and covered in heavy armor. Despite its stocky build and weight, it had powerful legs and may have been quite nimble on its feet. A deadly tail club provided another form of defense for times when its legs or its armor were not enough to save it.

Euoplocephalus (YOU-owe-plo-SEFF-ah-luss)

euoplocephalus-1


When: 70–65 million years ago (Late Cretaceous)

Fossil location: N. America

Habitat: Woodlands of N. America

Length: 20 ft (6 m)

Since its discovery in Canada in 1902, over 40 fossils of Euoplocephalus have been found. Some of the skeletons are almost complete, making it the most well-known member of the ankylosaur (armored dinosaur) family. Its armor consisted of plates of bone that mostly grew directly from the skin. In life, the bony plates were covered by a hornlike substance. Some of the plates had a central ridge, giving them a spiked appearance.

A TAIL OF DEFENSE

euoplocephalus-tail

Euoplocephalus had a heavy tail club that it could swing at attackers with bone-crushing force. But it also had a weak spot: a soft belly, which had no armor.

CRAZY PAVING

euoplocephalus-skull

Euoplocephalus’s skull

Euoplocephalus’s skull was covered with armor plates arranged like paving stones. There were even armored shutters on the eyelids that slid down to protect the eyes.

A PREHISTORIC BATMOBILE

euoplocephalus-batmobile

Euoplocephalus was the dinosaur equivalent of a Batmobile, with a powerful body, low profile, and heavy-duty armor plating.

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