Scelidosaurus

scelidosaurus (6)

Distribution:

Scelidosaurus have only been discovered in the Dorset area of Southern England.

Time Period:

They existed during the early Jurassic Period, 191 million years ago. The Jurassic period was the second segment of the Mesozoic Era. During which reptiles were the dominant animals on the planet and some of the largest dinosaur species to ever live existed during this time.

Size:

On average they reached 4 meters (13 ft) in length, 2 meters (6.5 ft) in height and weighed 270 kg.

Diet:

They were herbivores, mainly cropping leaves off plants

Interesting facts:

It was first discovered in 1859. It’s believed to be an ancestor of ankylosaurus and stegosaurus and is one of the earliest armoured dinosaurs we know of. They had spikes and bony plates (scutes) on their backs for protection plus a horny beak which was perfectly designed for plucking leaves off plants. Those parts of skin which weren’t armoured, were covered in small bumpy scales similar to pebbles. Their rear legs were longer than their front legs, so this dinosaur would have travelled on all fours.

The name ‘Scelidosaurus’ means ‘limb lizard’ and it was given to them by Richard Owen, the same man who coined the word ‘dinosaur’.

During this period much of England (particularly the south) was under water. This created a cluster of islands which is why there aren’t many dinosaur remains in the region. However, they are the best preserved and most complete dinosaurs to have been found in England so far. Although it’s unusual for a species to live in such a small area, it’s not impossible. An example of this is modern day Komodo dragons, which inhabit a single island in the world. Like Komodo dragons, Scelidosaurus’ may have occupied one island or a small cluster of islands which made up the south of England during this period. This could explain why they have been discovered within such a small range.