Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 100.5–97 Ma
|Vertebrae and armor of the holotype|
This nodosaurid ankylosaur was about 4 to 6 metres (13 to 20 ft) long. It was an ornithischian dinosaur with bony dermal plates covering the top of its body, and it may have had spikes along its side as well. The dermal plates were arranged in bands along its body, with narrow bands over the ribs alternating with wider plates in between. These wider plates were covered in regularly arranged bony nodules, which give the animal its scientific name.
It had four short legs, five-toed feet, a short neck, and a long, stiff, clubless tail. The head was narrow, with a pointed snout, powerful jaws, and small teeth. It perhaps ate soft plants, as it would have been unable to chew tough, fibrous ones; or alternatively it may have processed the latter with gastroliths and its enormous intestinal apparatus.
History of discovery
One incomplete specimen has been discovered in the Frontier Formation of Wyoming. One of the first armored dinosaurs to be discovered in North America, Nodosaurus was named by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1889.
- O. C. Marsh. 1889. Notice of gigantic horned Dinosauria from the Cretaceous. American Journal of Science 38:173-175
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