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Updated on March 10, 2013

Ankylosaurus was an armored dinosaur that lived at the very end of the Cretaceous Period between about 66.5–65.5 Ma ago in western North America. Ankylosaurus was about 30 ft long 5 feet at the hip, and weighed in excess of 3-4 tons This dinosaur was covered in armor plating called osteoderms, from nose tip to the end of it's tail where it sported a massive tail club which was made up of several large osteoderms, which were fused to the last few tail vertebrae. Although complete skeletons have not been found of Ankylosaurus several other dinosaurs that have similar features are represented by more complete fossil skeletons, including Euoplocephalus, Pinacosaurus, all part of the family Ankylosauridae. Ankylosaurids are members of the larger group Ankylosauria, which also includes the nodosaurids. Ankylosaurus is often considered the archetypal armored dinosaur and was the largest known member of the family.

Skull and teeth

Ankylosaurus skull was a low heavily armored triangular , and fused and re-enforced like all other parts of it's body. They even had armor on they're eyelids. Like other ankylosaurs, Ankylosaurus lacked the grinding tooth batteries of the other herbivorous ceratopsid and hadrosaurid dinosaurs. Instead Ankylosaurs had small, leaf-shaped teeth designed to crop vegetation. These teeth were small, when compared it's the body mass. It also swallowed gastroliths to compinsate for weaker teeth.

Tail club and defense

The ankylosaurs were known for their tail clubs. This is definitely a step up from the spikes of the stegosaurids. This was more like a wrecking ball. A single blow from a weapon like this could mortally wound or kill any predator. This tail club, fused with otseoderms and bony tendons fusing the tail allowing the club to be swung with extreme force. This would have been enough to shatter a tyrannosaurids legs completely. Some paleontologists have suggested that it could also have been used as a false head, although this theory isn't widely excepted. Ankylosaurus only vulnerability was its belly which did not have armor. If a T-rex somehow managed to flip an ankylosaurus on it's back, then anky would be powerless. It could still swing it's tail club but this could be easily avoided by a cautious T-rex.


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    • ChrisIndellicati profile image

      ChrisIndellicati 5 years ago from New York, NY

      You know I had to get to this one eventually! Thanks for the positive feedback!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 5 years ago from Essex, UK

      One of my favourite dinosaurs ChrisIndellicati, which I've known about since childhood. The appearance is so different to other dinosaurs and as for that club tail - I can't think of any other weapon quite like it in the animal kingdom. Thanks for the page.