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If there is one dinosaur that specializes in defense, it is the extraordinary Aknylosaurus. Meet the most heavily armored animal of all time.
— Allen, about Ankylosaurus

Ankylosaurus (an-kih-loh-saw-us; meaning "Fused Lizard") is a genus of herbivorous Ankylosaurid dinosaur that originated during the Late Cretaceous period in western North America and is one of the most well known dinosaurs.

It was the last and, at 10 meters long and 7 tons, the largest member of the ankylosaurid dinosaur family, the tank-like armored dinosaurs, well protected from large predatory dinosaurs. Large bony plates, which probably had additional horn-like coverings, protected its flanks.

Paleontologists and dinosaur fans alike often informally refer to Ankylosaurus as the "Battle Tank of Dinosaurs", the Bane of Tyrannosaurus rex.

FactsEdit

Era & DiscoveryEdit

The last of the tank-like armored dinosaurs, Ankylosaurus lived in the Late Cretaceous period, about 75–65 million years ago, and died out alongside other dinosaurs during the K/T extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous. It shared it environment with the ceratopsians as well as the hadrosaurs, ornithopods, and was often preyed upon by the raptors and tyrannosaurs that hunted it. 

In 1906, an American Museum of Natural History expedition led by paleontologist Barnum Brown discovered the type specimen of Ankylosaurus magniventris in the Hell Creek Formation, near Gilbert Creek, Montana. 

Physical AttributesEdit

As an extraordinary species of herbivorous dinosaurs that specialized in defense, Ankylosaurus was the largest member of the ankylosaur family. Although a complete skeleton has not yet been discovered and several other dinosaurs are represented by more extensive fossil material, Ankylosaurus is often considered the heavy built dinosaur. Ankylosaurus was most well known by the distinctive knobs and plates of bone known as osteoderms, and had a large club-like tail.

Standing about 7 feet (2.3 m) tall, measuring at around approximately 33 feet (10 m) long, and weighing at 7 tons (14,000 lbs.), Ankylosaurus evolved to withstand attacks from even giant predatory dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus rex. They were so heavily armored that such formidable natural defenses meant that Ankylosaurs was a herbivorous dinosaur that had very limited intelligence due to its skull being heavily reinforced (as was the rest of the animal) with heavy armor, leaving little space for much of a brain at all. Therefore, it did not need any serious brain power, and consequently its brain was quite small, even though the skull of this dinosaur was quite big and thick - even their eyelids were hardened armor to provide better protection.

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Ankylosaurus club

And if that wasn't enough, they had a massive, formidable bony club on the end of their tails, in which multiple vertebra had fused together to create this club, which was a 56–60 kg (140–150 lbs.) ball made out of solid bone and would have been a devastating defensive weapon wielded against attacking predators. Analysis of Ankylosaurus brain cavity indicates the most highly developed part of its brain was devoted to its sense of smell.

Ankylosaurus was the most heavily armored animals of all time. Literately, these creatures body was like an armored box. However, Ankylosaurus also had poor eyesight, but their senses of smell could still detect a predator. This dinosaur was well protected from big meat eaters. Large bony plates, which probably had additional horn-like coverings, protected its flanks. Its legs were directly underneath its body, not sprawled out like a tortoise's, and when it was confronted with a predator, Ankylosaurus could move quickly enough. 

The skull was thick with two pairs of sharp horns at the back of the head. Parts of the tail vertebrae were fused like the handle of a club, while the base of the tail remained flexible. However, despite their heavy armor, Ankylosaurus had one vulnerable stop: its underside.

Behavior & TraitsEdit

Ankylosaurus was also a solitary dinosaur but often lived together in pairs in dry forest/prairies of the highlands during the Cretaceous. In the presence of other fellow herbivores, such as Torosaurus, Ankylosaurus often ate with those dinosaurs. Its bony armor weighed it down so much that it fed only on low-growing shrubbery and other vegetation closer to the ground.

Ankylosaurus had very little brains inside their reinforced skulls. So when faced with danger, they reacted automatically and aggressively. Ankylosaurus likely defended itself by pressing itself into the ground. When carnivores attacked, it would either do that or use his clubbed tail to hit any predators. Due to its heavily-reenforced armored skull having little room for brain, it would most likely have been reduced to instinctive reactions. Despite its small brain size, Ankylosaurus may have been able to learn from experience, that made it appear a rather unpredictable and aggressive dinosaur.

GalleryEdit