The ankylosaurus is the most well-known of all the armored dinosaurs, with its body covered in bony plates that made it look like a walking tank. These creatures lived during the late Cretaceous period and had some very unique features that set them apart from other dinosaurs.
Description and Appearance
Ankylosaurus was a very diverse dinosaur, with its own unique features. It was one of the largest members of the Nodosauridae family and lived during the late Cretaceous period, approximately 75 million years ago to 66 million years ago. During this time period, many different mammals were beginning to live on land due to the cooling of planet Earth.
As one can see, this dinosaur was well equipped for survival and would not have been an easy prey item for any other creature during its time period. It existed for about 30 million years, before going extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period.
The first key feature is their armor. The ankylosaurus had a total of 30 different bony plates all over its body. These ranged in size from the plates along their necks and backs, which could be up to six feet in length and three feet high, to the smaller ones on their legs, about the size of a man's hand. Each plate was designed differently and worked together to make this beast virtually impenetrable. The plates going down the ankylosaurus's tail were covered in spikes, to make any attack trying to get through its tail useless.
The other key feature of these creatures was their club-like tails. The bottom 1/3rd of the tail was approximately equal in strength to concrete and could be swung at tremendous speeds. If it hit another dinosaur, the impact could easily break bones or kill its opponent if it was to hit precisely in the right spot.
Finally, there are two distinctive horns sticking out of the top of the ankylosaurus's skull, which were likely used as a way to attract mates and intimidate enemies. Their heavy bodies and armored plating made this creature slow and sluggish in speed, but they didn't need to outrun their prey. Their powerful tails were able to bring them down fast enough.
The last form of defense for this dinosaur was its nasal passages which contained two small bones at the front of the snout. These bones greatly restricted airflow, allowing these creatures to live in very humid climates while limiting their ability to overheat during hotter months.
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The ankylosaurus was a herbivore, feeding mostly on ferns that grew in dense forests during the late Cretaceous period. It is believed that they needed a large amount of roughage due to their limited ability to chew through plant material.
Little is known about the ankylosaurus's reproduction, except that they likely returned to the same nesting sites every year. It is believed that these creatures were very maternal and would have been excellent parents.
When babies hatched from eggs, their mothers would provide them with food until they were old enough to go off on their own. Once they reached a certain age, these creatures would go off and find mates in order to start their own nests and begin the cycle all over again.
During mating season, it is believed that these dinosaurs would migrate to the northern part of the continent to lay their eggs, due to the cooler climates making embryonic development easier for them. After hatching, they migrated back down south until colder months began again and met up with their parents.
The ankylosaurus was a very adaptable creature, able to survive in many different climates. For example, during the early Cretaceous period when the poles were much warmer than they are today, this dinosaur could live at the poles. As the poles cooled down over millions of years, they migrated south until they reached the equator, where it spent the rest of its days.
Ankylosaurus was a cold-blooded creature that required warm climates to regulate its body temperature. The ankylosaurus, therefore, lived in dense forests, near lots of tall trees to absorb heat during the day and release it at night. These forests provided plenty of plant life for the ankylosaurus to feed on.
When ankylosaurus dinosaurs were first discovered, it was believed that only adult males had horns on their heads, because fossils of adult males were found alone without any sign of other adults. However, fossils of juveniles and adult females were later found with these creatures, proving that they traveled together.
Ankylosaurus was first discovered in the early 1900s by Barnum Brown, a fossil hunter who worked for the American Museum of Natural History. He originally thought that these creatures were some form of armored dinosaur, but it wasn't until 1908 that he sent his findings to another paleontologist, Henry Fairfield Osborn, who immediately realized that the armor on its tail wasn't a unique feature. He later gave this creature a new genus and species name: Ankylosaurus magniventris.
Ankylosaurus was one of the last dinosaurs to live before an asteroid wiped out most life on Earth. It is believed that they didn't go extinct due to climate change, but it is possible that they were able to adapt. Many scientists believe there is still ankylosaurus living in the wild today but have not been discovered yet because of their camouflaging abilities.
It is not known how long ankylosaurus usually lived but some scientists believe the average lifespan to be about 30 years.
The ankylosaurus was a very unique type of dinosaur that had many aspects of reptilian life and others similar to mammals. For example, it is believed that these creatures were cold-blooded with the need for high levels of humidity throughout the day and night just like most reptiles. However, it is also believed they laid eggs and had cared for their young during the first few years of life just like many mammals.
Triceratops and Torosaurus may have been close relatives, but there is much debate about exactly how closely related they were. Because of this uncertainty, it has been difficult to determine whether or not Torosaurus was an adult Triceratops or a totally different species. However, it is much easier to say that ankylosaurus was not closely related to either of these dinosaurs because they shared no similar features except for their armor and a club-like tail.
Ankylosaurus had a very unique body type and lifestyle in comparison to most other dinosaurs. It lived in large groups with one main leader who would take care of the young when they hatched. It also had small holes in its skull that scientists believe were used to regulate the temperature in their brains.
There is much more that can be said about each of these creatures, but due to the limited space, only some key topics will be discussed. Although it can't be determined with full certainty, it's clear that ankylosaurus was a very unique type of prehistoric creature.