9 massive dinosaurs with spikes (and armor!)
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Spikes are a common feature of dinosaurs. Many dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago were extremely deadly and some of the fiercest apex predators in history. Dinosaurs like Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Spinosaurus are some examples of the deadliest dinosaurs.
Carnivorous dinosaurs relied on a variety of animals for food. To protect themselves, many herbivorous dinosaurs had spikes and armor as natural defenses. In this article, you'll learn about 9 different spiked dinosaurs.
Fossils are one of the most important resources for understanding dinosaurs, and they are still helpful even millions of years later. Dinosaurs used spikes for defense, but there are other theories as to why these ancient reptiles grew large spikes from their bodies. Here are 9 spiky dinosaurs, plus everything you should know about each one.
A member of the Ankylosauridae, Ankylosaurus is the largest member of its family. This species lived in North America during the Cretaceous period. Spikes cover their bodies to protect them from predators. The dinosaurs were about 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) tall and 24 feet (7.3 meters) long. Ankylosaurus is a herbivore, eating a variety of low-lying plants.
Ankylosaurus was a herbivore that used only body weapons for defense. This species' tail resembles a medieval club and can be swung quickly at any threat that decides to enrage this beast. Spikes covered the ankylosaur's back, head, and tail, making it dangerous to get close to.
Knetrosaurus is a genus of stegosaurids that lived during the Late Jurassic in what is now Tanzania, East Africa. Kentrosaurus is a herbivore, feeding on low-lying vegetation about 3 feet tall. For safety, this species migrates in flocks.
Kentrosaurus was about 15 feet (4.57 meters) long and weighed between 2,200 and 6,600 pounds (997.9 – 2721.5 kilograms). They are slightly smaller than the North American Stegosaurus. Spikes cover their bodies and tails. The long spikes of Knetorsaurus make it more difficult for predators to successfully attack them. Attracting mates is another possible use of their spikes. Like other armored dinosaurs, they swiped at enemies with their tails and kept them at bay.
Pachycephalosaurus was a herbivorous bipedal dinosaur. This species lived during the late Cretaceous period, 6.5 to 100 million years ago. Pachycephalosaurus lived in what is now North America. Fossils have been found in Alberta, Canada, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. Pachycephalosaurus were ornithopod dinosaurs whose spikes were far less prominent than those of armored dinosaurs.
Two species of this genus currently exist:
- Pachycephalosaurus Rheinheim
The dinosaur was about 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and between 15 and 16 feet (4.5 and 4.8 meters) long. One of its most impressive features is its thick skull, which is 10 inches (25 centimeters) thick. Pachycephalosaurus' skull was 10 times thicker than that of a typical dinosaur. Small spikes protrude from their skulls and faces. Their hardened skulls allow them to strike like rams at anything that gets in their way.
[ Dinosaur Polcanthus image-caption- ]
Polacanthus was an armored dinosaur that lived in the Early Cretaceous period. They lived about 13 to 125 million years ago, inhabited Western Europe, and left fossil fragments there. This dinosaur was terrestrial and fed on herbivores. Only partial fossils of this dinosaur have been found, however, other similar species have helped describe what this dinosaur looked like.
Polacanthus grew to about 16 feet (5 meters) and had a hard armor. They are about 7 feet (2.13 meters) tall and have spikes on their bodies and tails for defense. They run at the speed of a rhino and can weigh up to 2 metric tons (4409 lb) when fully grown.
Dacentrurus was a large stegosaurid species that lived in the late Jurassic period. They are about 23 to 26 feet (7 to 8 meters) long and weigh up to 5 tons (10,000 pounds). Dacentrurus lived until the late Cretaceous extinction event, inhabiting what is now Europe. Twenty fossil specimens of this dinosaur have been found. Spain, France and the United Kingdom are some of the areas where the remains of this species have been found.
Dacentrurus are herbivores and live on all fours. Like other armored dinosaurs, they had plate armor and spikes. They have two rows of spines on their body and tail, instead of the usual single row of spines in other stegosaurid species.
When thinking of dinosaurs with spines, most people think of species like Stegosaurus or Ankylosaurus, but Dilosaurus is a genus of long-necked sauropods that also had spikes. Dilosaurus had prominent spikes, or spines, on its back. At 39 feet (12 meters) tall, this species is very large. Even with its size, it was smaller than the average length of other sauropods, which is about 50 feet (15 meters).
During the Late Jurassic, dirysaurids lived in Africa. They are herbivores and feed on low-lying vegetation. First discovered in 1914 by German paleontologist Werner Janesch, Dicraesourds are named for the spines that grow out of their backs. Dicraeosursu was a giant at the time, estimated to have weighed 8.8 tons (8,000 kg). They walk on all fours, their bulk slowing them down considerably.
7. Chongqing Dragon
In 1977, Chongqinglong was discovered and excavated near the upper layer of the Shaximiao Formation in China. This species lived in the late Jurassic period. As one of many members of the stegosaurid family, Chongqing dragon is a herbivore and walks on four legs. They live in forest-like habitats. This species lived in groups with other similar dinosaurs.
Chongqing dragon has spikes arranged in pairs on its back. Spikes protrude from their backs and out from the sides of their tails. Like other similar species, the spikes on its tail are used to ward off other land predators.
The Gastonia dinosaur was a dinosaur that lived between 13.9 and 125 million years ago in what is now considered North America. The species was an ankylosaurid that shared features with other ankylosaurids, such as walking on all fours, a herbivorous diet, and armor covering the entire body. Gastonia fossils were originally discovered in the lower part of the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah. In 1998, Robert Gaston discovered the dinosaur, which also inspired the species' name.
Gastonia's body and tail are covered with huge spikes. These spikes help the species survive predators. Gastonia is a medium-sized species weighing about 4,200 pounds (1905 kilograms) and reaching a length of 16 feet (4.8 meters)
Stegosaurus was a large dinosaur with its trademark spiked and plate-like appearance. Stegosaurus lived in the Late Jurassic Period 15.5-145 million years ago and is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs in the world. Fossils have been found in the United States, China, South Africa, India and Europe.
There are three known species of Stegosaurus, S. stenops, S. ungulatus and S. sulcatus .
Stegosaurus was a large species, 21 to 30 feet (6.5 to 9 meters) long. They subsisted on a herbivore diet and had an estimated body weight of about 6,800 lb (3084.42 kg). They walk on all fours and have long, thick tails. The spikes at the end of their tails allow them to fend off the fiercest predators. They had big plates on their backs that they used to show off. Stegosaurus had a very small head for its size, with a brain the size of a walnut.
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about the author
Spiders, snakes, and lizards are some of my favorite types of animals, and I love keeping a few species as pets. I love learning about all the wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you will find me walking into nature.
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