|“||This is Scutosaurus - a distant ancestor of turtles. Although they have no shell, their backs are covered in hard, bony plates.||„|
|— Allen, about Scutosaurus|
Scutosaurus (name meaning "Shielded Reptile") is a genus of armor-covered, herbivorous anapsid pareiasaur reptile that lived in Siberia during the Late Permian period around 252-248 MYA. Over 2 m tall, as much as 2.5–5 m long and weighing a ton, Scutosaurus is distantly related to turtles and tortoises. It was a powerful herbivore, covered in scutes of armor - hence its name which means, Shield Lizard.
Scutosaurus was among the largest plant eater of its time. It lived in the Late Permian period 252-248 Million years ago. Scutosaurus was first discovered in Siberia in 1922.
Scutosaurus were large and massively built pareiasaurs which measured over 3 meters long and weighed 1 ton. It had armored skin covered in lumps and wrinkles, possessing very large osteoderms on their backs. It had a large skull with chisel-like teeth designed to help it feed on vegetation. It also had a short tail.
Like with Placerias, Scutosaurus were not related to dinosaurs, but instead were close relatives to the ancestors of the Chelonians - more commonly known as Turtles and Tortoises. Despite lacking any type of shell, their backs were covered in hard, bony plates. However, they were prey animals for Gorgonopsid. Once they tired from running from danger, they were vulnerable to attack.
Like the massive sauropod dinosaurs, Scutosaurus couldn't chew, but instead they had stones they pick up in their stomachs to help grind the vegetation so their digestive juices could get to work. In addition to using their keen noses to sense danger, Scutosaurus could also smell water from several miles away.
Like many other herbivorous animals, Scutosaurus were social creatures which normally lived and traveled in migrating herds. old males often got left behind. Although often, during their huge eternal searches for food and water, some members of the herd, such as old males, were known to stray and become loners or even get left behind. Despite its massive size, bulk and armor, Scutosaurus wasn't always safe. Large predators like Gorgonopsid (as they were powerful beasts in their own right) would prey on any stragglers. Only the oldest, youngest and weakest - or those isolated and lost from their herds - were at real danger from predators.
Scutosaurus were shown to be quite nervous and suspicious around other animals such as humans, especially when said animals were moving quickly or outside of their field of vision. However, instead of attacking, Scutosaurus would instead flee in search of safety.
With the shortage of food and water during the late Permian, Scutosaurus would travel tens to hundreds of kilometres to find the smallest scraps of vegetation or liquid. Because of this, they could survive months without water. Scutosaurus were a danger to the animals around it. With such large herds and very little water, one herd can drink a water hole within a day. This lack of water would eventually get the better of the resident animals.