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Nodosaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Nodosaurus (Greek for "knobby lizard"); pronounced NO-doe-SORE-us


Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Middle Cretaceous (110-100 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 15 feet long and one ton



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Tough, scaly plates on back


About Nodosaurus:

For a dinosaur that has given its name to an entire prehistoric family--the nodosaurs, which were closely related to the ankylosaurs, or armored dinosaurs--not a whole lot is known about Nodosaurus. To date, no complete fossil of this armor-plated herbivore has been found, though Nodosaurus has a very distinguished pedigree, having been named by the famous paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh way back in 1889. Unlike their ankylosaur cousins, nodosaurs in general (and Nodosaurus in particular) lacked clubs on the ends of their tails. As far as defensive maneuvers go, Nodosaurus was probably limited to flopping on its stomach and daring any hungry tyrannosaurs to try to flip it over and rip it into its soft belly.


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