Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Ornithischia
Family Scelidosauridae
Genus Scelidosaurus
1st Species Scelidosaurus harrisonii
Other attributes
Time Range 196.5-183 mya
Location United Kingdom
Name Meaning Limb reptile
Physical Dimensions 3.9 meters long
Dietary Classification Herbivore
Scelidosaurus is a scelidosaurid thyreophoran dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of the United Kingdom. It was named in 1859 by Richard Owen. It was the earliest thyreophoran to exist, as well as the earliest complete dinosaur.


Scelidosaurus was a broad thyreophoran with 4 erect legs, a moderately long tail, and a small head with a small, beaked mouth. Most of its body would have been covered in osteoderms, while its head, underside, and legs would have been covered in scaly skin.


Scelidosaurus was an herbivore, feeding on plants low to the ground. Its beak was used to clamp onto plants and strip them off, while the many teeth in the back of its mouth would cut them into pieces.


As the earliest thyreophoran, Scelidosaurus had many noteworthy features that would pass on to later thyreophorans. Of course, the most notable feature it had were the many osteoderms on its body, which were used for protection against sharp-toothed predators; in time, this would also pass on to many other thyreophorans such as Denversaurus, Stegosaurus, and Ankylosaurus. As well as this, it also had a small, narrow head with primitive teeth and simple jaws (similarly to Stegosaurus), which would infer that the thyreophoran preferred to eat highly nutritious plants. This type of lifestyle is much different from the semi-aquatic, piscivorous ecology that older scientists have given it.

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