Author's note: these pages were written some years ago. I am not planning to update them. For a more current coverage, see the link to palaeos com Palaeos website (to which many links on these pages point to anyway. More info here

Suborder "Scelidosauria"


Ancestral Armoured Dinosaurs

Small to large ancestral armoured types.  The back was studded with large bony scutes.  There are two families; the Scutellosauriadae and the Scelidosauridae

 family Scutellosauridae
small bipedal Jurassic forms;
length about a  metre family Scelidosauridae
small early ancestral forms - late Triassic to early Jurassic - usual length about a  metre  Scutellosaurus
Scelidosaurus, early Jurassic



family Scutellosauridae

Scutellosaurus dawleri was a small lightly built ancestral armoured type.  It was a fast sprinter, relying on agility to ascape predators, with a covering of armour plates (scutes) as well.   It was originally clasisfied with the Fabrosaurs, from which it is no doubt descended.  Echinodon becklessi would seem to be another member of this family.  No doubt likely that other poorly known small primitive dinosaurs will fit in this group as well.

Skutellosaurus as it may have appeared in life

Stats

family Scutellosauridae

ecological niche: small terrestrial armoured herbivores 

chronological range: Early to Late? Jurassic 

known species: 1 definite, 1 possible

name
author
age
location
fossil remains
length
weight
systematic position
 Echinodon becklessiOwen, 1861  link to palaeos com TithonianEngland3 fragmentary skulls, scutes 60 cmScutellosauridae?
Scutellosaurus dawleriOwen, 1868 link to palaeos com PliensbachianArizona2 fragmentary skeletons, scutes 1.2m10kg Scutellosauridae


reconstructed Scutellosaurus skeleton



family Scelidosauridae

Early Jurassic
Middle Jurassic
Scutellosauridae_==
Scelidosauridae_==
Nodosauridae
Huayangosauridae

reconstructed Scelidosaurus skeleton
Scelidosaurus skeleton
the armour plates are shown in colour







Scelidosaurus The scelidosauridae are primitive armured forms, similiar to but larger than Scutellosaurus and transitional stage between that form and the larger, heavily armored ankylosaurs.  May or may not be related to the stegosaurs as well.  The back was studded with large bony scutes.  Length 3 to 4 metres.  Early Jurassic of Europe.

Stats

family Scelidosauridae

ecological niche: medium-sized to large terrestrial armoured herbivores 

chronological range: Early Jurassic 

known species: 1 definite, 1 or 2 possible


Scelidosauridae and related forms of uncertain position

name
author
age
location
fossil remains
length
weight
systematic position
Lusitanosaurus liassicusLapparent & Zbyszewski, 1957 link to palaeos com SinemurianPortugalskull fragment, teeth Scelidosauria (Scelidosauridae???)
Scelidosaurus harrisoniiOwen, 1868 link to palaeos com SinemurianEngland2 skeletons 3-4m200-250kg Scelidosauridae
Tatisaurus oehleriSimmons, 1965 link to palaeos com Hettangian/ link to palaeos com SinemurianChinadentary?1-2m Scelidosauridae??? or new family of Stegosauria?

Tatisaurus oehleri Simmons 1965
Dark Red Beds, Lower Lufeng Series, Yunnan, China
late Hettangian- early Sinemurian?
Tatisaurus is the earliest known member of the dinosaurian order Thyreophora, a group that included various types of armoured dinosaurs.  It is still not very far removed from its Fabrosaur ancestors, but within a few million years Tatisaurus, or a form like it, evolved into large armoured quadrepeds, the Scelidosaurs.

Scelidosaurus harrisonii Owen 1861
Lower Lias, Charmouth, England
Nearly complete skull with asociated postcrania
Length: 3.5 metres
Scelidosaurus has also been reported from Tibet [David Lambert, A Field Guide to Dinosaurs, p.173].  A skull fragment called Lusitanosaurus liassicus, from Portugal, may also belong to this genus.

"Juvenile Scelidosaurus"
Lower Lias, Charmouth, England
Nearly complete skull with asociated postcrania; juvenile.
seems to be a different species

skeleton reconstructions fromexternal linkDINOSAURS AND THE HISTORY OF LIFE - GEOLOGY V1001x  site - Professor Paul Eric Olsen.

parent node back to Predentata (Ornithischia) page top of page

Web links Links Web links

cladogram Abelisauridae - Thescelosaurus!

Dinosauricon Dinosauricon

cladogram Ceratosauria Mikko's phylogeny site

Jurassic Gallery Jurassic Gallery - fantastic artwork by M. Shiraishi. By Japanese and English

printed referenceMolnar, R., E., Problematic Theropoda: "Carnosaurs". 306-317, in Weishampel, D. B., Dodson, P., & Osmólska, H. (eds.), The Dinosauria University of California Press, Berkley, Los Angeles, Oxford, 1990

printed referenceNorman, D., B., Problematic Theropoda: "Coelurosaurs". 280-305 in Weishampel, D. B., Dodson, P., & Osmólska, H. (eds.), The Dinosauria University of California Press, Berkley, Los Angeles, Oxford, 1990


internal link cautionary note (please read before using this page as reference material!)


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page uploaded 12 May 1999
modified 14 July
converted to css format 4 January 2001, links updated 16 January 2010

content by M.Alan Kazlev
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