The Ankylosaurus is a genus of armoured dinosaurs that lived during the Late Cretaceous period. It was herbivorous and is considered a member of the dinosaur family Ankylosauridae. The Ankylosaurus is one of the best-known ankylosaurids and is famous for its distinctive armoured plates and tail club.

Key Facts

Ankylosaurus pronunciationan-KIE-loh-sore-us
What does Ankylosaurus mean?Stiff lizard
Dinosaur typeAnkylosauria
On the menuHerbivorous
Length20 feet (6 meters)
Height7 feet (2 meters)
WeightAbout 5500 lbs (2.5 tons)
Life expectancy70-80 years
Legs used to get aroundQuadruped
Estimated top speed9-10 km/h (6 mph)
When they livedUpper Cretaceous era 74-67 million years ago
Where they have been found?Canada, USA

When & Where

The Ankylosaurus dinosaur was found in the early 20th century and is one of the most well-known Ankylosauria dinosaurs. It was first discovered by paleontologists Barnum Brown and Harry Seeley in 1905 in the Hell Creek Formation near Gilbert Creek, Montana. The specimen included an upper part of the skull, two teeth, a shoulder girdle, ribs, and over thirty armour plates.

Size & Weight

The Ankylosaurus is thought to have been about 12 feet tall at the hip, making it one of the largest ankylosauruses ever discovered. It probably weighed around 3 tons, which is heavy for an animal its size. The largest complete specimen measures about 15 feet long and 6 feet wide, while smaller ones were only 6 feet long and 1 foot wide.

Mobility & Diet

Its diet consisted mostly of plants, although there’s some evidence that it also ate small mammals such as mice or rabbits. It used its large head to smash down tree branches with its jaws and teeth, then swallowed the food whole. Its tail club could have been used in defense against predators; however, scientists aren’t sure how well this would work against larger carnivores like the T Rex or Triceratops since Ankylosaurus was too big for most predators. 

Interesting Points

  • Ankylosaurus probably lived in herds and ate plants such as ferns and conifers.
  • It is one of the last non-avian dinosaurs.
  • The Ankylosaurus is the largest-known ankylosaurid. 
  • Ankylosaurus is thought to have eaten up to 60 kilograms of plant matter a day.

Featured Image Credit: Emily Willoughby, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons