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The Ankylosaurus was the Cretaceous equivalent of a Sherman tank: low-slung, slow-moving, and covered with thick, nearly impenetrable armor. Usually, plant-eating dinosaurs were prey to the carnivorous dinosaurs. Well, this dinosaur is one of the few exceptions to that theory.
Ankylosaurus was not an easy catch for any meat-eating dinosaurs. In fact, it was formidable and was able to keep many dangerous dinosaurs at bay with its tail. In this article, we will look at some interesting facts about this ancient beast. So, let’s get right to it!
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: General Body Description
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About 70 million to 66 million years ago, in North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, Ankylosaurus roamed the earth. It was an armored ornithischian dinosaur whose body was covered with bony plates called scutes. It was a member of the genus belonging to a larger group infra order, Ankylosauria.
These bony plates grew in rows along its back and were entrenched in the Ankylosaurus’s tough skin.
Their scutes are similar to that of some animals in our world today, typically the Crocodiles.
Ankylosaurus had a wide beak and rows of small teeth. This allowed it to graze on low-growing vegetation. This ancient creature was built like a tank and wouldn’t have been an easy meal for any predator brave (or hungry) enough to take it on. It was really an enormous animal. More so, it had four horns on its head and a heavy club on the end of its tail. Let’s talk more about its tail.
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Unlike some other animals that use their armors for defense, Ankylosaurus’ wasn’t entirely for security. Instead, this dinosaur uses a heavy, blunt, dangerous-looking club on the end of its stiff tail, which it could whip at reasonably high speeds, as its major defensive tool.
However, there is a bit of unclarity as to whether this dinosaur only used its tail to keep predators –like raptors and Tyrannosaurus– at bay, or maybe it was a tool that increased its chances in the mating game. More like, the males with bigger tail clubs had the opportunity to mate with more females.
Although Ankylosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater), it was a formidable animal. It weighed as much as 3 or 4 big cars and was short, wide, and powerful. We will talk more about the size shortly. Some parts of the Ankylosaurus’s skull meshed together for strength.
In fact, Ankylosaurus means ‘Fused Lizard.’ So you could say the name was given because of its fused skull. Interestingly, the skull was so protected that some scientists believe it had no brain. But then, although small like a walnut, Ankylosaurus did have a brain.
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: When Was Ankylosaurus Alive?
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Ankylosaurus roamed the earth in western North America during the very end of the Cretaceous period. It was one of the last dinosaurs to have existed before the Cretaceous–Paleogene Extinction Event wiped out the dinosaurs.
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: Ankylosaurus Family
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Ankylosaurus belongs to the Ornithischia order and also is a member of the Ankylosauridae family. Members of this family, Ankylosauridae, along wiry the members of the family Stegosauridae, belong to the group of dinosaurs called the Thyreophora, popularly called the ‘Armoured dinosaurs.’
An example of dinosaurs in the Stegosauridae is Stegosaurus. Hence, Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus were both members of the ‘armored dinosaurs.’ Well, that’s not so surprising.
More so, thanks to Ankylosaurus, a widespread family of armored, small-brained, plant-eating dinosaurs which have been discovered on every continent except Africa has been named the Ankylosaurs.
The evolutionary relationships of these armored dinosaurs is a matter of dispute, beyond the fact that ankylosaurs were closely related to stegosaurs; it’s possible that at least some of their surface similarities can be chalked up to convergent evolution.
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: Ankylosaurus Size
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We’ve established this ancient lizard’s tank was heavily armored and well-armed! Ankylosaurus was not entirely a large animal. In fact, it’s pretty typical of most plant-eating animals to be large. But while Ankylosaurus was not as large as the enormous sauropods such as Apatosaurus and Diplodocus, Ankylosaurus still pulled some weight and can’t be overridden easily.
Growing up to 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) at the hip, it was very long and wide – possibly almost as wide as tall. And although Ankylosaurus was not very tall, it still grew up to around 10 meters (33 ft.) in length.
The most surprising thing about this dinosaur was its weight. Ankylosaurus was extremely heavy for its size, weighing between 5 and 7 tonnes (5.5 and 7.7 short tons). Impressive!
Ankylosaurus was the biggest of the group of dinosaurs known as the ‘armored dinosaurs,’ which also includes the stegosaurus.
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: Ankylosaurus Diet
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So, what did Ankylosaurus eat? Ankylosaurus was a plant-eating dinosaur. By the late Cretaceous period, flowering plants had evolved. Ankylosaurus’s short legs and low mouth position would have allowed it to graze on vegetation growing on the ground. Its wide beak meant that it probably wasn’t very picky about what went in, and it had a giant tongue to move food around.
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: Ankylosaurus Fossil
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The first Ankylosaurus to be discovered was found in 1906 in the Hell Creek Formation, a well-known dinosaur hotspot in Montana, USA. The incomplete specimen was found during an expedition led by the famous paleontologist Barnum Brown.
Brown formally described Ankylosaurus in 1908. He gave the specimen the species name Ankylosaurus magniventris, which means ‘fused lizard with a great belly.’ Since Brown’s discovery, other Ankylosaurus specimens have been found in the USA and Canada. However, a complete specimen is still to be discovered.
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: Ankylosaurus Predators
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Although this armored dinosaur was heavily built with scutes, and of course, cub on the end of its stiff tail, it still was prey to some fearsome beasts. After all, every animal has its predator. For Ankylosaurus, as you might have rightly guessed, Tyrannosaurus was a formidable foe it had to deal with. T Rex lived in the same area and at the same time as Ankylosaurus.
Ankylosaurus’ heavily protected and well-armed body, most times, might not have always provided protection from extremely powerful predators, including one of the deadliest of them all; Tyrannosaurus Rex.
However, most predators might not have stood a chance against a full-grown Ankylosaurus. In fact, even a desperately hungry and terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex would have found it nearly impossible to tip over a full-grown Ankylosaurus and take a bite out of its soft stomach. That’s not an easy feat!! Hence, many late Cretaceous theropods preferred to prey on less-well-defended Ankylosaurus hatchlings and juveniles.
Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids: Ankylosaurus Defense Mechanism
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Scientists and Paleontologists believe this armored dinosaur may have used its tail as a club, shoving it into the legs of any predator that got too close. The vertebrae of the last portion of the tail were fused together for strength, forming a ‘handle’ for the club.
Another possible use for the club would have been as a decoy. Predators may have aimed for the club, thinking that it was the Ankylosaurus’s head.
Top 15 Simple Ankylosaurus Facts for Kids
Source by: Onlydinosaurs
- Ankylosaurus lived in the late Cretaceous period.
- Ankylosaurus is a member of a group of dinosaurs known as the ‘armored dinosaurs’
- The first Ankylosaurus fossil was discovered in 1906 by famous dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown.
- Ankylosaurus grew up to around 10 meters (33 ft.) in length.
- It weighed between 5 and 7 tonnes (5.5 and 7.7 short tons).
- Ankylosaurus was covered in bony plates called scutes.
- Ankylosaurus’s primary weapon was a bony club on the end of its tail.
- Ankylosaurus was a herbivore that grazed on low-growing plants.
- The Ankylosaurus was part of a group of dinosaurs known as Thyreophorans (armored dinosaurs).
- The Ankylosaurus was quadrupedal, meaning it walked on four legs.
- The top speed of an Ankylosaurus is estimated only to have been up to six miles per.
- Estimates put the weight of the Ankylosaurus between 2 and 8 tons.
- The Ankylosaurus was a herbivore that ate foliage near the ground.
- Based on studies of the Ankylosaurus skull, paleontologists think they had a perfect sense of smell.
- The back of an Ankylosaurus had a lot of bony plates, which would have protected it from the teeth of a predator.
Source by: Onlydinosaurs
And that’s a wrap on interesting Ankylosaurus facts for kids and adults. This armored dinosaur, like every other dinosaur, was definitely a creature of many impressive abilities and interesting facts; Some of which we have explored in this article.
We do hope that you have enjoyed finding out about Ankylosaurus and that you know more about this plant-eating, tank-like dinosaur.
Just like every dinosaur fan, animatronic products, puppets, etc., of dinosaurs are a must-have in your home. Having an Ankylosaurus puppet, an animatronic T. Rex, or any other dinosaur of your choice will further ignite your love for these ancient creatures. Hence, be sure to check out your favorite Ankylosaurus Puppet.