Image: Ankylosaurus magniventris dinosaur

Covered in bony plates and a row of spikes, Ankylosaurus magniventris was well-protected from predators. It likely also used the tip of its tail as a club, walloping would-be attackers.

Image © National Geographic Society

Fast Facts

Type:
Prehistoric
Diet:
Herbivore
Size:
25 to 35 ft (7.5 to 10.5 m) long
Protection status:
Extinct
Did you know?
Ankylosaurus had a small brain relative to its size and was probably not very intelligent.
Size relative to a bus:
Illustration: Anklyosaurus compared with bus

These dinosaurs were the prehistoric tanks of their time. Ankylosaurus magniventris was covered with hard, bony plates that offered superb protection from its most formidable predator—T. rex. Rows of spikes ran along Anklyosaurus's body, and small horns adorned its head to complete an impressive defense array.

Predators would have had to flip the squat, four-legged animal over, exposing its unprotected underbelly, to find a weak spot.

Ankylosaurus's distinctive plates did more than deflect blows—they could also be used as weapons. At the end of the animal's tail, a series of plates were fused together and held aloft by tail vertebra fused together. This clublike tail likely delivered a powerful blow and served as a serious deterrent to would-be predators.

Ankylosaurus had a beak and small teeth, which it used to browse the large quantities of plants necessary to sustain a three- to four-ton body. Ankylosaurus magniventris was the biggest and heaviest of the several ankylosaurid species and grew up to 33 feet (10 meters) long.

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