Gargoyleosaurus

The Gargoyleosaurus was a small-sized dinosaur that lived in the Late Jurassic era about 150 million years ago. Its fossils were first discovered in Albany County, Wyoming, and are being kept in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado. Gargoyleosaurus was originally described by Ken Carpenter et al. in 1998 and later renamed in 2001 by the same team.

Key facts

DomainDescription
Gargoyleosaurus pronunciationgahr-goy-lee-oh-sore-us
What does Gargoyleosaurus mean?Gargoyle lizard
Dinosaur typeArmoured
On the menuHerbivorous
Length9 feet (2.7 meters)
Height2 feet 4 inches (0.7 meters)
WeightAbout 660 lbs (300 kg)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundQuadruped
Estimated top speed10km/h (6mph)
When they livedLate Jurassic era 154-142 million years ago
Where they have been found?USA

When & Where

The holotype of the Gargoyleosaurus was first discovered in Albany County, Wyoming, in 1995. It was discovered at the Bone Cabin Quarry West in exposures dating to the Upper Jurassic Morrison formation. These remains were later described and named by Ken Carpenter et al. in 1998. Other fossils of the Gargoyleosaurus have since been found in the stratigraphic zone 2 of the Morrison Formation. 

Size & Weight

Gargoyleosaurus was a small dinosaur measuring approximately 3m in length and only a meter high. Its body mass was 300kg (close to 700lbs). Aside from the holotype (an almost complete skull and a partial postcranial skeleton), there are only two other known partial skeletons of the Gargoyleosaurus. Therefore, this infamous ankylosaur’s exact size and weight is still under debate. 

Mobility & Diet

The Gargoyleosaurus was not very fast or agile, but it could run quickly when frightened or threatened. This dinosaur probably didn’t use its legs much to move around—its main method of travel was by using its tail like a rudder to steer itself in one direction without falling over or turning too sharply.

Gargoyleosaurus is known to have been herbivorous; it fed on plant matter such as ferns. However, studies also suggest that it may have preyed on insects and small mammals like rats. 

Interesting Points

  • It was named and renamed in 1995 and 1998, respectively. 
  • The Gargoyleosaurus appearance is based only on its known skull and a partial postcranium.

Featured Image Credit: Conty, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons