Nodosaurus textilis - (nodosaurus means “knobby lizard,”) appears to have been a lumbering tank of an animal built along the lines of an armadillo with a complete set of body armor nearly an inch thick. The plant-eating animal was compactly constructed with short, massive limbs and a head that is equally massive with many of the bones fused together.
Most other dinosaurs have the bones of the skull loosely articulated throughout life or at least until maturity so that continued growth is possible.The animal reached a length of up to 20 ft (6 meters), and appears to lack defensive apparatus, but must have been well protected by its thick armor. Shown is the skeleton of Nodosaurus.
The armor is made up of bony “scutes” similar to those of other reptiles, but massively expanded. Shown is one of these biscuit shaped scutes of solid bone nearly an inch (2.5 cm) thick. you can easily see why the Nodosaurus was well protected! The black and white bar is 3.5 inches (9 cm) long.
A likely defensive posture might have been lying down on the ground like a hedgehog to protect its vulnerable underside. It is unlikely that Nodosaurs could rely on escape as a defense, as their massive, stubby legs do not appear to have been designed for speed.
Below is a Nodosaurus skeleton in jigsaw puzzle form. If you can correctly assemble the puzzle you will be admitted to the portion of the collection with all of the Nodosaurus bones. (To skip the puzzle, click on the link below the puzzle.)
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