There are some iconic dinosaurs that practically everybody recognizes, often because we have seen them in films, TV, books, or sometimes on items such as clothing or toys. Some examples of such dinosaurs include Triceratops, Stegosaurus, the massive sauropod dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) and Diplodocus, and, of course, Tyrannosaurus Rex. One other dinosaur which has not perhaps received such widespread publicility (I do not for example ever recall seeing it in a film), but many people are nevertheless able to recognizable, is Ankylosaurus.
Ankylosaurus was a massive herbivore (plant eater) that grew upto 33 feet (10 meters) long. The animal had a wide flat body supported by four short squat legs. While its shape is certainly quite distinctive, perhaps the thing that makes Ankylosaurus most instantly recognizable is the animal's armor. This dinosaur had numerous oval-shaped bony plates embedded in its skin (especially in its back), four spikes to protect its head (two at the back of the head, and one spike on each cheek), and a bony growth on the end of its tail that was probably used as a club. Undoubtedly all this armor would have been very useful when you consider the fact that Ankylosaurus lived in the same regions as, and was contemporary with carnivorous dinosaurs such as Gorgosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex.
Ankylosaurus lived in North America during the late Cretaceous period, about 74 to 65 million years ago. Like the other remaining dinosaurs, it died out at the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, 65 million years ago. The name Ankylosaurus was chosen by the great fossil hunter, Barnum Brown, and means “stiffened lizard".
By S. Tanna. Discover more about Ankylosaurus at http://www.dinosaurjungle.com/dinosaur_species_ankylosaurus.php.