The Polacanthus was a genus of nodosaurid dinosaurs that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period, which was 130-125 million years ago. Just like other nodosaurids, the Polacanths also was protected by its armored spines, consisting of thick bony plates which are rooted into its skin, and protection of combined plates at its pelvis.

Key facts

Polacanthus pronunciationThe name Polacanthus is pronounced as “pol-a-KAN-thus”,  which is derived from a Greek word.
What does Polacanthus mean?Polacanthus, was derived from two Greek words, which are polys-/πολύς, which means “many”, and akantha/ἄκανθα, which means “thorn” or “prickle”. The name basically means “many spines”, due to the dinosaur’s spiky armor which is used as protection from its predators.
Dinosaur typeOrnithopod
On the menuHerbivore
Length7.09 m (23.3 feet)
Height2.22 m (7.3 feet)
Weight900 kg (1,984.2 lbs)
Life expectancyDue to its rarity, the Polacanthus’ life expectancy is unknown and has not yet been recorded.
Legs used to get aroundStudies concluded that the Polacanthus were quadrupedal, which meant they used their 4 legs to walk and run.
Estimated top speedThe estimated top speed of the Polacanthus is estimated to be similar to that of the Javan rhinoceros, which is 30 mph or 48.2 kph.
When they livedThe Polacanthus lived during the Early Cretaceous Period, which was 130-125 million years ago.
Where they have been found?This dinosaur was found in the Isle of Wight, located in England.

When & Where

The Polacanthus foxxi was discovered by Reverend William Fox on the Isle of Wight, in England, in 1965. The location where the fossil was discovered is located in Barnes High, which is situated on the southwest coast. The name foxxi was placed in honor of Reverend William Fox who discovered the remains of the dinosaur.

Size & Weight

Due to the rarity of this type of dinosaur and due to the fact that most of its fossils have been found on the coast and may have eroded their bones away, there is still a lot left to be known about this dinosaur. Scientists concluded that the Polacanthus was at a height of 2.22 m (7.3 feet), 7.09 m (23.3 feet) long, and weighed 900 kg (1,984.2 lbs).

Mobility & Diet

Just like most ornithopods, the Polacanthus is an herbivorous dinosaur that had a diet that consists of plant materials during the Cretaceous Period. 

Interesting Points

  • Polacanthus existed from Lower Cretaceous Epoch to 99.6 million years ago.
  • Mostly lived in a terrestrial environment.
  • Was a herbivore.
  • Reproduced by laying eggs, just like most dinosaurs.
  • 14 different specimens have been found by paleontologists.
  • The Polacanthus had a floating shield on its back, and it’s what the dinosaur used for protection from predators attacking them. It mostly consists of spines that would have made it difficult for predators to attack the Polacanthus.