Ankylosaurus, due to its lengthy appearance in the Netflix cartoon Camp Cretaceous and its demise in Jurassic World, is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs and fast becoming peoples favourite due to its unique armor plating and powerful club tail. This herbivore was a well armed ( or tailed) enough to make any predator think twice before taking it on. Although not quite as large as some other dinosaurs like the Triceratops, its armor certainly made Ankylosaurus an impressive dinosaur in its own right. And we take a look at how big it was below.
Ankylosaurus measured approximately 6.25 to 8 meters in length (20.5 – 26.2 feet) and 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) in height. Weight estimates range from 4,800 to 8,000 kg (10,582 – 17,637 lbs). Its size is estimated by comparing it to similar dinosaurs in the same family, such as Euoplocephalus.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the size and characteristics of the Ankylosaurus. We will explore its anatomy, physical features, and how scientists actually manage to estimate the size and weight of this prehistoric tank!
Table of Contents
- What was Ankylosaurus?
- How Big was Ankylosaurus?
- Length of Ankylosaurus
- Height of Ankylosaurus
- Weight of Ankylosaurus
- Comparison with other dinosaurs
- Where did Ankylosaurus live and where was it found?
- How do we estimate the size of Ankylosaurus?
- Ankylosaurus and modern-day animals
What Was the Ankylosaurus?
Lets start for those without Netflix, or who missed out on the Jurassic World Movies and explain what the Ankylosaurus was. Ankylosaurus was a heavily armored dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 68 to 66 million years ago. It was a herbivore and a member of the Ankylosauridae family, which were known for their unique body armor and defensive adaptations, some members even more extreme than Ankylosaurus.
It had a squat, wide body covered in armour, short legs, and powerful club-like tail, Ankylosaurus was a certainly equipped for survival and protection for the large predators that lived at the same time as it.
Its distinctive armor, which consisted of bony plates called osteoderms, covered its entire body, making it a challenging target for carnivorous dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
How Big Was The Ankylosaurus
While it wasn’t the largest of the dinosaur, Ankylosaurus was still an impressive creature and certainly larger than most animals you would see today. It measured around 6 to 8 meters (20 to 26 feet) in length and stood approximately 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) tall at the hip. Its weight has been estimated to range from 4,500 to 8,000 kg (9,900 to 17,600 lbs), making it one of the heaviest armored dinosaurs.
|Dinosaur||Length||Height at Hips||Weight||When it Lived (mya)|
|Anylosaurus||20 -26 feet (6 -8 metres)||5-6 feet (2 metres)||9-17,000 lbs (4-8000 kg)||68-66 mya|
The Ankylosaurus was one of the heavier armored dinosaurs, and you can check out the link above to see others in that category, It has weight estimates ranging from 4,500 to 8,000 kg (9,900 to 17,600 lbs).
- In comparison, Triceratops weighed between 6,000 to 12,000 kg (13,000 to 26,000 lbs), making it a larger and heavier ceratopsian dinosaur.
- The Parasaurolophus, a hadrosaurid, was much lighter, weighing in at approximately 2,500 kg (5,500 lbs).
- The Stegosaurus, known for its iconic plates and spikes, weighed between 4,500 to 5,000 kg (9,900 to 11,000 lbs).
- Although much earlier, the Allosaurus, as a carnivore example, weighed around 2,300 kg (5,000 lbs).
Ankylosaurus stood around 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) tall at the hip. it was not designed to run away, or to be standing up and spotting dangers, it was designed to be low to the ground, protect its softer underbelly, and with luck batter any predator with that club like tail!
- Triceratops, with its large frill and horns, was taller, reaching heights of 2.9 to 3 meters (9.5 to 10 feet) at the shoulder.
- Parasaurolophus was quite tall due to its elongated crest and bipedal nature, standing at about 3 meters (10 feet) at the hip.
- Stegosaurus, with its arched back and plates, was also taller both at the hip and the top of its plates than the Ankylosaurus, reaching 2.9 m (9.5 ft) tall and even up to 4 metres (13 + feet)
- The Allosaurus, a carnivore, was much taller, with estimates ranging from 2.5 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) at the hip.
The Ankylosaurus measured around 6 to 8 meters (20 to 26 feet) in length from head to tail. this made it similar to other medium to large herbivores in length ( sauropods aside of course!)
- Its contemporary, Triceratops, was longer, measuring between 7.9 and 9 meters (26 to 29.5 feet) in length.
- The Parasaurolophus, with its long neck and tail, was also longer than the Ankylosaurus, reaching lengths of up to 9.5 meters (31 feet).
- The Stegosaurus was similar in length to the Ankylosaurus, measuring around 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30 feet) from head to tail.
- the Allosaurus was longer, with estimates ranging from 8.5 to 12 meters (28 to 39 feet) in length.
Table 1: Ankylosaurus size comparison with other popular dinosaurs
|Dinosaur||Max Length [m/f}]||Max Height [m/f]||Max Weight [lbs/kg]|
|Stegosaurus||30 feet (9 metres)||11 feet (3.5 metres)||7700 lbs (3500 kg)|
|Triceratops||26-30 feet (8-10 metres)||9,5 feet (3 metres)||11-17,000 lbs (5-8,000 kg)|
|Ankylosaurus||20 -26 feet (6 -8 metres)||5-6 feet (2 metres)||9-17,000 lbs (4-8000 kg)|
|Brachiosaurus||75 feet (23 metres)||39 feet (12 metres)||40-103000 lbs (18-47,000 kg)|
|Tyrannosaurus Rex||40+ feet (12 metres)||12-14 feet||11- 15000 Lbs (5-7000 kg)|
although it may not have been the biggest, its size ( still big just to be very clear) wasn’t its main protection. That armor and tail would have been more than enough to keep all but the most determined, and large, predators at bay.
How Big Was The Ankylosaurus Tail Club?
Just be fore we jump into the anatomy of the Ankylosaurus, it is worth having a look at that formidable tail club it possessed. The tail club of Ankylosaurus was a formidable weapon, consisting of a bony mass surrounded by large osteoderms (bony plates) at the end of its long, flexible tail.
The size of the tail club varied among individuals, but it is estimated to have been around 18 inches (45 cm) wide and 24 inches (60 cm) long. The weight of the club is more difficult to determine, but it likely weighed between 50 to 100 pounds (22.7 to 45.4 kg).
This massive and powerful tail club was used primarily for defense against predators, and it could deliver a devastating blow to any attacker. It may also have been used to display to ankylosaurus its strength when meeting each other.
The Ankylosaurus had a unique anatomy, with its body covered in thick, bony armor called osteoderms. Aside from these bony plates which provided an additional layer of protection against predators. It also had that large, powerful club-like tail we discussed above.
The head of the Ankylosaurus was broad and low, with a toothless beak like mouth at the front and grinding teeth at the back for processing plant material. Its limbs were short but strong, with wide feet to support its heavy body.
Ankylosaurus Fossil Finds
Ankylosaurus fossils have been found in North America, primarily in the Western United States and Canada. Although complete skeletons are rare, numerous partial fossils have provided a lot of information about the size and anatomy of this pretty unique dinosaur. The first Ankylosaurus fossil was discovered in 1906 by paleontologist Barnum Brown in Montana, USA. making it 117 years old this year (well 66,000,117 years old but you get the idea)
How Do Scientists Estimate the Size and Weight of Ankylosaurus?
As with all of our How big articles which you can see and check out in the table below, we cover how we know, estimate or best guess the size of dinosaurs, and for that reason we will keep the explanation short here to save your eyes and time. If you want to know more check out the articles below.
Estimating the size and weight of a dinosaur like Ankylosaurus is a complex process and from the varying estimates you can see bets are hedged quite a lot ( with all dinosaur sizes not just this one) .
Scientists rely on the available fossil evidence, as well as comparisons with other, more complete ankylosaurid specimens. By examining the bones and comparing them to those of other ankylosaurs, researchers can make educated guesses about the overall size and weight of the animal.
We have a series of articles on How Big Dinosaurs were, including sauropods and carnivores, and you can follow the links below to check out the size of other popular dinosaurs. We are expanding this section on a regular basis.
And if you wanted to know some of the smallest dinosaurs ever you can check out the article on the site as well. As although dinosaurs are often thought to be huge monstrous animals there were plenty of small ones as well and we take a look at them on the link above.
The Ankylosaurus is a fascinating dinosaur, with its impressive size, unique armored body, and powerful defensive adaptations. Its robust build and formidable appearance made it a formidable opponent for predators in the Late Cretaceous period. Whether it was quite as friendly as Camp Cretaceous mad eit out is unknown ( though we heavily suspect not!)
However at up to 26 feet long, 8 – 17,000 lbs with a low frame, armor and a huge club at the end of it tail a push over it certainly wasn’t, despite what you saw in Jurassic world!
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.