Sauropelta (Lizard shield)
John Ostrom - 1970
Estimated 5 meters long
S. edwardsorum (type)
USA, Wyoming and Montana - Cloverly Formation
Late Cretaceous, 112-99 million years ago
Sauropelta, meaning “lizard shield,” is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, about 112-99 million years ago. Its fossils have been found in North America, and it is known from several well-preserved specimens.
Sauropelta was a medium-sized dinosaur, measuring up to 5 meters (16 feet) in length and weighing around 2 tons. It had a heavily armored body, with rows of bony plates and spikes covering its back, sides, and tail. Its head was also protected by bony plates, and it had a distinctive beak-like mouth that it used to crop vegetation.
Sauropelta had four sturdy legs and a broad, flattened body that made it a stable and strong platform. It likely moved slowly and deliberately, and may have used its powerful legs and broad body to push through dense vegetation.
Sauropelta was an herbivore that likely fed on low-growing vegetation. Its beak-like mouth and numerous teeth suggest that it may have been able to crop and grind tough, fibrous plants. Its heavy armor would have provided protection against predators such as Tyrannosaurus and Albertosaurus.
Sauropelta is an important dinosaur because it is one of the most well-preserved ankylosaurids known to science. Its heavy armor and beak-like mouth are characteristic features of the ankylosaurid family, and its fossils have helped scientists understand the anatomy and behavior of these fascinating armored dinosaurs.