Euoplocephalus

Euoplocephalus

The name of this beautiful dinosaur means “well armored or armed head”, lived at the end of the Cretaceous 65 million years ago  in North America. In fact, it is one of the largest ankylosaurids known, it was more or less the size of an elephant and fortunately we have many specimens of the Euoplocephalus to know its characteristics in depth and not only that, but we also have around 15 complete skulls, which gives us many clues and knowledge about its behaviour.

The Euoplocephalus was up to 6 meters long and weighed about 3 tons, larger than him we can only find the Ankylosaurus. He had a wide body of almost 3 meters, his legs although they were short were quite powerful and had claws like helmets. His entire neck and part of his head was covered with bone plates and what we can call bony horns that were more than just bodies, they were hard bumps protruding from his skin. Another specific feature is that the tail had a bone mallet, this large bone at the tip of its tail could be moved to strike and was very effective. It also had a flat, triangular-shaped head and also a small beak and teeth, just like others of its kind.

The first Euoplocephalus was discovered by Lawrence Morris Lambe in 1902, at the beginning llam´ø Stereocephalus, however this name had already been assigned to another animal, but not to a dinosaur but to an insect so another name had to be chosen. One interesting thing is that this name is a bit difficult to write and so there are many errors in its writing, even in scientific documents. It is worth mentioning that for some Euoplocephalus is synonymous with Ankylosaurus, although for many others they are totally different dinosaurs.

Most of the fossils have been found in Alberta, Canada, in two major formations, Herradura Canyon and Oldman Formation. Another group of remains have been found in the Judith River Formation and Two Medicines in Montana, United States. In these formations were found complete bones, teeth, and even some bones attached to his armor.

The Euoplocephalus was herbivorous, that is to say that it ate plants, studies about its nose explain that it had a very fine nose and could smell very effectively. A special feature that tells us a lot about his eating habits is his legs, which are believed to have been used to dig and remove plants that complemented his diet. It is curious to know that this dinosaur, despite having a breastplate, like a powerful armor, had very weak teeth, so he was looking for soft plants, which is why it is believed that he dug up tubers and mostly ate plants in the ground. To help with this task, he had a curved beak, this could also have helped him eat some berries.

It is also believed that the Euoplocephalus is not moved in herds, but was mostly alone, which meant more food for him. Despite this, in 1988 the remains of 22 young Euoplocephalus were found, so it is believed that the solitude was more for older or more adult dinosaurs.

Without a doubt its shell and tail is what makes the Euplocephalus special, this bone shell worked as a kind of armor, but with plates, that made it protected and at the same time flexible, which was not the case with other dinosaurs. Most interestingly, he was so armored that he even had protection on his eyelids so that he could close his eyes and protect them from any attack. As if this were not enough, he had thorns that covered all his back and to this must be added that he had a series of horns on the back of his head. But without a doubt his most powerful weapon was his tail, which had powerful muscles and helped his defense, was really well protected against predators.

To give you an idea of how his tail worked, we can say that his tail was capable of launching a washing machine or a refrigerator from a long distance without any problem, he could move it from right to left, which was not easy since it was made up of two large bone balls. A blow from this tail could even knock down a large dinosaur, it is believed that it could even have knocked down a Tyrannosaurus. The only way to defeat the Euoplocephalus was to defeat tir´åndolo from behind and bite it in the belly, in fact it is where teeth marks have been found, otherwise it was practically impossible to penetrate them in any other way.