Euplocephalus are the only Ankylosaurid dinosaurs with a bone plated head.
Euoplocephalus Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Euoplocephalus tutus
Euoplocephalus Conservation Status
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Euoplocephalus is a genus of giant, heavily armored dinosaurs that lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous period. This dinosaur had a well-protected body with bony plates covering its back and a clubbed tail. However, it was a gentle herbivore, and its armor was only useful for self-defense.
Description & Size
Euoplocephalus is a genus of herbivorous ankylosaurid dinosaurs that lived in the Late Cretaceous period (between 99.6 million to 65.5 million years ago). The only named member of this genus is the Euoplocephalus tutus. The original name given to this genus was Stereocephalus, which would have translated into “solid head” in Greek. However, since this name was already taken by another animal specie, a new name, Euoplocephalus, which means “well-armored head,” was assigned.
Scientists know a lot about the Euplochephalus‘s appearance because many of its fossils were well-preserved. It was a giant dinosaur around 19ft to 23ft in length. This is medium-sized compared to other dinosaurs in the ankylosaurid family. The dinosaur was about two metric tons in weight.
It had a low-slung body, with a flat and wide stance on four sturdy legs. Like other members of the family Ankylosauridae, the Euoplocephalus had a heavily armored body with rows of large high-ridged scutes on its back. Two bony rings covered this dinosaur’s neck, and it had a massive club at the end of its tail.
The armored covering on other ankylosaurid dinosaurs was restricted to their body. However, the Euoplocephalus had a bony plate to protect its eyelids. This dinosaur had a short and dropping snout with a horny beak which was used to bite off plants. It had a single curved row of teeth which was adapted to its diet.
Diet – What Did Euoplocephalus Eat?
Like other ankylosaurid dinosaurs, Euoplocephalus was an herbivore. Its mouth had a broad muzzle, suggesting that it had a diverse diet. Scientists are not sure about the type of plant that this dinosaur ate. While some believe that it most likely ate soft, non-abrasive plants, recent studies suggest that this dinosaur and others in its family were capable of eating tough fibrous plant materials. The Euoplocephalus most likely grazed on low-lying plants, including primitive ferns and bushes.
Habitat – When And Where It Lived
Eupolocaphalus lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous Period (between 99.6 million to 65.5 million years ago). It most likely lived on the Western side of North America. This area had a huge inland sea at the time, which provided a lot of moisture that allowed the growth of plants that Euoplocephalus fed on.
Threats And Predators
Considering the size of this dinosaur and the spiked armor plates that covered its body, Euoplocephalus was probably well-protected from many of the predators with which it shared a habitat around the same period. However, it’s doubtful that the armor would have held up against large predators like the Tyrannosaurus.
Discoveries And Fossils – Where It Was Found
In 1887, scientists discovered the first fossil of Euoplocephalus in an area that is now in present-day Dinosaur Park, located in the Deer-River Valley, Alberta, Canada. Upon discovery, Paleontologists named the newly discovered species Stereocephalus, which is a reference to the well-protected skull that they found. However, scientists had already used the name on an insect species discovered earlier. This necessitated a name change for the Euoplocephalus in 1910.
Since then, paleontologists have uncovered several Ankylosaurid fossils in the Campanian formations of North America. Initially, they thought these fossils belonged to the Euoplocephalus. This would have made it one of the fossil record’s most well-known dinosaurs. However, from further studies, we now know that the fossils belong to other dinosaur species. Only 12 authentic finds of Euoplocephalus are on record to date. Still, we know a lot about the build of this animal because the fossil record contains many well-preserved, almost-complete skeletons.
Extinction – When Did It Die Out?
Euoplocephalus went extinct between 65 to 70 million years ago towards the end of the Cretaceous. The disappearance of this dinosaur species might be linked to the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
Similar Animals to The Euoplocephalus
Similar dinosaurs to the Euoplocephalus include:
- Ankylosaurus: this is a genus of dinosaurs that belonged to the same family as the Euoplocephalus. It was also heavily armored, although it did not have a bony plate to protect its head.
- Hadrosaurus: the Hadrosaurus was an herbivorous dinosaur that lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous period.
- Gorgosaurus: this was a predator dinosaur species that lived in western North America alongside the Euoplocephalus. Considering its size, it most likely didn’t stand a chance against the heavily armored Euoplocephalus.
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Euoplocephalus FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does Eoplochephalus mean?
The genus name Euoplocephalus is a Greek word that translates as “well-armed head.” The genus was initially named Stereocephalus. But since this had been assigned to the rove beetle earlier, paleontologists had to change it.
Is Euoplocephalus the same as Ankylosaurus?
No, the Euoplocephalus was different from Ankylosaurus. Both are a genus of dinosaurs that belong to the family Ankylosauridae. All members of this family are characterized by a heavily armored bodies. The Ankylosaurus is slightly bigger than the Euoplocephalus. But it does not have armored plates to protect its eyes as the Euoplocephalus does.
How big was Euoplocephalus?
This dinosaur was around 19-23 feet long, which was medium-sized compared to other Ankylosaurid dinosaurs. It might have weighed about 2 tons and was heavily armored with bony plates.
When was the Euoplocephalus alive?
The Euoplocephalus lived in the Late Cretaceous period (between 99.6 million to 65.5 million years ago).
- Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euoplocephalus
- Encyclopaedia Britannica/The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/Euoplocephalus
- Natural History Museum, Available here: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dino-directory/euoplocephalus.html
- Jurassic World Evolution Wiki, Available here: https://jurassicworld-evolution.fandom.com/wiki/Euoplocephalus
- Dinopedia, Available here: https://dinopedia.fandom.com/wiki/Euoplocephalus