Ankylosaurus

ankylosaurus at Wingham Wildlife Park

Distribution:

Ankylosaurus roamed the island continent of Laramidia. During the Cretaceous period North America was divided by the Western Interior Seaway. The land to the east was call Appalachia and to the west was the island continent of Laramidia.

Time Period:

Theses dinosaurs existed during the upper Cretaceous period around 68-66 million years ago. This was the third and final period of the Mesozoic Era. Until this Era the continents which exist today were fused into one super continent called Pangaea. Although it had already begun to separate during the previous periods, the Cretaceous period saw Pangaea spread across the Earth’s surface and create new land masses. This change slowly cooled the Earth’s climate and the continents and oceans familiar to us today started to take form. While many dinosaurs adapted, and new species evolved, these changes were perhaps too much to overcome when paired with an asteroid striking the planet and surges of volcanic activity, because with the end of Cretaceous period came the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

Size:

This species would have been 6 meters (20 ft) long and 1.7 meters (5.5 ft) high, weighing 6 metric tons.

Diet:

They were herbivores which fed on the leafy plants at ground height.

Interesting facts:

The club at the end of their tail is thought to have been used for fighting other Ankylosaurs and for fending off large predators. Their tail could only be swung low to the ground. This would have been enough to break the leg bones of most dinosaurs.

Their name means ‘fused lizard’. It was given this name because several of its bones and body parts were fused together. This made it rugged and give it a jagged appearance. Their legs were short and strong so that they could carry all the weight of their heavy ‘armour’. This armour was made from many bony plates which covered their neck, back and hips. They also had spikes covering their body and horns on their heads as further protection from predators.