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Did body armor really help?

Many dinosaurs had some protective armor, but the ankylosaurs were the most heavily armored of all. Some were covered in a mosaic of bony plates and studs, and many bristled with spines and spikes, too. Only their bellies were unprotected, and ankylosaurs may have crouched to avoid exposing them when attacked. It would have taken a hungry theropod to tackle spiky Gastonia, which may have responded by driving its shoulder spines into its attacker's leg.

Neck scutes

What was the armor made of?

The flat plates embedded in the skin of the ankylosaurs are known as scutes by paleontologists. The ankylosaurs' armor of scutes, studs, and spikes was made of hardened bone, sometimes covered in horn. Edmontonia had scutes around its shoulders and along its tail, as well as triangular spikes on its back.

Curved dorsal spines

Broad, flat spikes

Curved dorsal spines

Broad, flat spikes

Horny, toothless beak

Broad foot

Gastonia

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