EUOPLOCEPHALUS (yoo-op-loh-SEF-uh-lus)

Period: Late Cretaceous


Order, Suborder, Family: Ornithischia, Thyreophora, Ankylosauridae

Location: North America (Canada, United States)

Length: 20 feet (6 meters)

Euoplocephalus lived at the same time and in the same areas as Edmontonia. Euoplocephalus roamed the forests cropping low plants with its broad beak. It probably ate any type of plant it came across. It used its very small teeth to chew food.

Scientists do not know exactly what Euoplocephalus looked like in life because no specimen has been found with the armor preserved in its natural position. We do know that the head and body were well armored; this armor was joined to its head. Even the eyes were protected with bone eyelids. This is how it got its name, which means "well-armored head."

Though scientists do not know the exact arrangement, they do know it did have bands of armor on its back with large spikes protecting its neck and the base of its tail. It probably had smaller spikes all along its back. As in all ankylosaurids, it had a tail club that it used as a weapon.

In a world with dangerous predators, a large, slow-moving animal needed ways to protect itself. All ankylosaurs had body armor. But Euoplocephalus may also have had a good sense of smell. The air passage in the nostrils was looped, so many sensory nerves for smell were probably present. It probably picked up the scent of a predator before it was seen. These looped passages also may have been used to make a bugling noise so Euoplocephalus could communicate with other members of its species.

Euoplocephalus was closely related to the other ankylosaurs, including Talarurus, Saichania, and Ankylosaurus. Some ankylosaurs survived until the very end of the Cretaceous Period.