Polacanthus Skin

Deinonychus could run very fast when chasing prey

Deinonychus could run very fast when chasing prey

ยป Tail bones tightly locked together balancing act Scientists once believed that Parasaurolophus used its thick tail for swimming by sweeping it from side to side like a fish's tail. But they now think that the tail counterbalanced the front of the body.

tail whip

When defending itself, Diplodocus used its long tail like a huge whip to swipe at its attacker. The tail had 73 bones joined together, and made a powerful weapon with its thin, whiplike ending.

Tail held stiffly behind body

Heavy tail club

Spikes were made of bone tail rudder

The tail bones of Deinonychus were locked together by long bony rods, which made the tail stiff. When Deinonychus was running or jumping, it could steer and balance itself by moving its tail from side to side.

swinging club Euoplocephalus' tail ended in solid, bony lumps. Enemies risked serious injury from a swing of the tail club.

tail spines

Spiny Stegosaurus kept its attackers at bay by swinging its spiked tail toward their head or soft underside.

tail spines

Spiny Stegosaurus kept its attackers at bay by swinging its spiked tail toward their head or soft underside.


Skin shape Bony nodules, such as this one, were embedded in the skin of the armoured dinosaur Polacanthus.

Lizards and snakes, crocodiles and turtles -all have the tough scaly skin which is a trademark of reptiles. Dinosaurs were no exception. Their skin, preserved long enough in silt or clay to leave fossilized imprints, shows patterns of large and small lumps. Some dinosaurs, like the ankylosaurs, had spikes and plates of bone embedded in their thick skin - armour against attack from more dangerous dinosaurs.

Polacanthus Armor Fossilized Skin

Bony nodule

Well armoured Polacanthus had a protective coat of nodules and overlapping bony plates. Such tough armour would have deterred hungry enemies.

Crocodile scales Crocodiles have a tough and leathery skin of lumpy scales. Just below the skin along the back, large bony plates, called scutes, add to the skin's toughness. The skin of crocodiles and other reptiles is also waterproof, keeping body moisture in but water out.

Bony nodule

Crocodile skin in close-up

Dinosaur Anatomy Skin

Crocodile skin in close-up

Bony plate

Ankylosaurs were among the most knobbly-skinned of the dinosaurs. Large bony plates, like this one, lay side by side forming a thick armour along the upper part of the body.

Nodules and spikes Euoplocephalus had bony nodules set into its leathery skin. Pointed spikes across the shoulders gave added protection.

Shoudr spike

Fossil ankylosaur nodule

Fossil ankylosaur nodule


Wrapped in skin In rare cases, a dinosaur's dead body dried and shrivelled instead of rotting away. This Edmontosaurus fossil has the skin impression preserved and wrapped around the skeleton.


Was this article helpful?

0 0


  • charley
    How tough were dinosaurs skin?
    8 years ago

Post a comment