Ankylosaurus is the most famous member of the group of Dinosaurs known as Akylosaurids. These Dinosaurs were characterized by being covered in armor like plating made of bone and many had structures on the tips of their tail made of bone that were used in defense. All were vegetarian. The name Ankylosaurus means "Fused Lizard" in reference to the many fused together bone scutes covering it's body that act as armor.
While the maximum size for Ankylosaurus is not fully agreed upon or even known, it is suggested anywhere between 20.5 and 30 feet. It may have weighed as much as 13,000 lbs. In addition to being a hefty animal, Ankylosaurus also had a strangely triangular skull, being wider than it was long, the largest known measured 25 inches long and 29 inches wide. The teeth were small and leaf shaped, smaller than any other Ankylosaurid in relation to the head and since Ankylosaurus did not posses grinding tooth batteries, little or no chewing probably occured.
The most famous and notable feature of Ankylosaurus is it's armor. The "armor" is made up of osteoderms, also known as scutes which are plates of bone. These plates are fused together in many places to connect the armor plating together over the course of the animal's body but also connected by tendons in the right places to allow movement and maneuverability. In addition to armor plating, the "club" on the end of the tail was also made of bone that was fused to the lst vertebrae of the tail, though the tail was not very flexible due to its partly bony tendons. Studies have shown that the tail was quite capable of breaking bones when swung in defense just as was believed for many years.
An Ankylosaurid Dinosaur may be the identity of the legendary dragon named Tarasque. This is based on many shared features between the legendary dragon and the known animals. Many may reject this interpretation due to the fanciful description of the Tarasque however it should be noted that many animals throughout history are portrayed and described fancifully, and the more amazing the animal is to people, the more fanciful it is described. Also, it is well known that all animals are portrayed fantastically until they are documented scientifically, and even for some time after. The connection between the Tarasque and Ankylosaurus can be viewed in our section called Dragons: The kings of legend.