Scutellosaurus (Little shielded lizard)
Edwin Harris Colbert - 1981
Estimated 1 meters long
S. lawleri (type)
USA - Arizona - Kayenta Formation
Early Jurassic, 200-190 million years ago
Scutellosaurus, meaning “little shielded lizard,” is a genus of small herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Early Jurassic period, about 200-190 million years ago. Its fossils have been found in Arizona and it is known from several well-preserved specimens.
Scutellosaurus was a bipedal dinosaur that measured about 1 meter (3 feet) in length and weighed around 10-20 kilograms (22-44 pounds). It had a lightly-built body with long legs, and was covered in small, bony plates, giving it a “scaled” appearance. These plates acted as armor, providing protection against predators.
Scutellosaurus had a relatively small head with a beak-like mouth and numerous small teeth. It likely fed on low-growing vegetation such as ferns and cycads. Its teeth suggest that it may have been able to grind tough, fibrous plants.
Scutellosaurus is an important dinosaur because it is one of the earliest known thyreophoran dinosaurs, a suborder that includes the ankylosaurs and stegosaurs. Its heavily armored body is a characteristic feature of this group, and its fossils have helped scientists understand the early evolution of armored dinosaurs.
Overall, Scutellosaurus is a fascinating dinosaur that has contributed to our understanding of the early evolution of thyreophoran dinosaurs and the ecology of herbivorous dinosaurs during the Early Jurassic period.