Nodosaurus (meaning "knobbed lizard") is a genus of herbivorous ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, the fossils of which are found in North America.

Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 100.5–97 Ma
The American journal of science (1921) (17529968373).jpg
Vertebrae and armor of the holotype
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Family: Nodosauridae
Subfamily: Nodosaurinae
Genus: Nodosaurus
Marsh, 1889
Type species
Nodosaurus textilis


Pelvis of the holotype specimen

This nodosaurid ankylosaur was about 4 to 6 metres (13 to 20 ft) long. It was an ornithischian dinosaur with bony dermal plates covering the top of its body, and it may have had spikes along its side as well. The dermal plates were arranged in bands along its body, with narrow bands over the ribs alternating with wider plates in between. These wider plates were covered in regularly arranged bony nodules, which give the animal its scientific name.[1] In 2010 Paul estimated its length at 6 meters (20 ft) and its weight at 3.5 tonnes (3.85 short tons).[2]

It had four short legs, five-toed feet, a short neck, and a long, stiff, clubless tail. The head was narrow, with a pointed snout, powerful jaws, and small teeth.[1] It perhaps ate soft plants, as it would have been unable to chew tough, fibrous ones; or alternatively it may have processed the latter with gastroliths and its enormous intestinal apparatus.

History of discoveryEdit

Historical reconstruction of the holotype skeleton from 1921

One incomplete specimen has been discovered in the Frontier Formation of Wyoming.[citation needed] One of the first armored dinosaurs to be discovered in North America, Nodosaurus was named by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1889.

See alsoEdit


  • O. C. Marsh. 1889. Notice of gigantic horned Dinosauria from the Cretaceous. American Journal of Science 38:173-175
  1. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. pp. 158–159. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
  2. ^ Paul, Gregory S. (2010). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 236.