World of Dinosaurs/Scutelosaurus


Scutelosaurus is a small dinosaur with skin bones ("scutes"). It is a basal armored dinosaur.

Check out this AWESOME reconstruction image.

And the cartoon we use in this class.


Scutelosaurus was about the size of a german shepard dog, with a long narrow tail, a fairly long, narrow torso, and a small head.

Scutelosaurus had long hindlimbs and relatively short forelimbs, and many toes on each.

Scutelosaurus had several rows of skin bones ("scutes") along each side of its back. These are similar in appearance to the skin bones that grow on alligators and crocodiles today.

Scutelosaurus had a special pointy beak bone (a "predentary") at the front of the lower jaw. The lower jaw, aka "mandible" is made of "dentary" bones, which hold teeth. The predentary bone brings the jaw together at a point.


Scutelosaurus is IN these clades:

  • Tetrapods
  • Diapsids
  • Dinosaurs
  • Thyreophora (armored dinosaurs)

Scutelosaurus is NOT IN these clades:

  • Synapsids
  • Theropods


Based on its limb length in comparison to other dinosaurs, we think Scutelosaurus could walk quickly on its hindlegs, or could use all four legs to walk more slowly close to the ground.

Based on similarities to the scutes in modern alligators and crocodiles, we think the skin bones in Scutelosaurus would provide some protection against predators' claws or attacks.

The teeth would be suitable for eating plants or bugs, but didn't do a lot of chewing.

Fossil RecordEdit

Scutelosaurus fossils are known from the early part of the Dinosaur age, and are extremely rare. Recent research by University of Utah PhD student Benn Breeden shows the most up-to-date work on these animals.


Check it out: new paper with pictures.


Fossils of these animals from North America show that they evolved in the part of Pangea that was splitting away