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Gargoyleosaurus
"Gargoyle lizard"

ANATOMY
Gargoyleosaurus (pronounced gar-GOYL-e-o-SAWR-us) was a small armored dinosaur (a primitive and early ankylosaur) that walked on four legs and had a stiff tail. This plant-eater had protective body armor on the upper surface of its body and tail (hollow bony oval plates). It also had a series of spikes running along each side of its body. This dinosaur had a long, narrow beak with teeth on both the upper and lower inner surface (most other ankylosaurs have teeth on only the lower beak). This unusual ankylosaur also had a straight nasal passage and hollow armor (again, this is unlike most other ankylosaurs).

Gargoyleosaurus was about 10 feet (3 m) long and was roughly 3.3 feet (1 m) tall to the top of the shoulder - it may have weighed about a ton.

According to Gargoyleosaurus' describers, Kenneth Carpenter et al., "Despite its geological age, the skull shows features seen in Late Cretaceous ankylosaurs, including fusion of bone armour to the surface of the skull and mandible and closure of two skull openings, the antorbital and upper temporal fenestrae. The new taxon also has characters common to the two ankylosaur families, the Ankylosauridae and Nodosauridae, supporting the proposal that the Ankylosauria originated from a single ancestor."


This great photo of the holotype of Gargoyleosaurus parkpini, DMNH 27726, was taken by Jim Puckett in the Dinosaur Hall of "Prehistoric Journey" at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

WHEN GARGOYLEOSAURUS LIVED
Gargoyleosaurus lived during the late Jurassic Period, about 155-144 million years ago (unlike most other ankylosaurs, which lived during the Cretaceous period).

DIET
Gargoyleosaurus was an herbivore (it ate only plants), eating low-lying plant material like cycads, ginkgos, conifers, ferns, horse-tail rushes, etc.

INTELLIGENCE
Gargoyleosaurus was an ankylosaur, whose intelligence (as measured by its relative brain to body weight, or EQ) was low among the dinosaurs.

EQ


LOCOMOTION
Gargoyleosaurus probably moved relatively slowly on four legs. The rear legs were slightly longer than the front legs.

DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Gargoyleosaurus was found in the Morrison Formation, Bone Cabin Quarry, Albany County, Wyoming, USA, North America. The original fossil (the holotype) was found by J. Parker and T. Pinegar (hence the species name, G. parkpini). Gargoyleosaurus was described in 1998 by Kenneth Carpenter et al.

CLASSIFICATION
Gargoyleosaurus belonged to the:

Reference: Skull of a Jurassic ankylosaur (Dinosauria), Kenneth Carpenter et al., Nature, 393, 782 - 783 (1998)





Information Sheets About Dinosaurs
(and Other Prehistoric Creatures)

Just click on an animal's name to go to that information sheet. If the dinosaur you're interested in isn't here, check the Dinosaur Dictionary or the list of Dinosaur Genera. Names with an asterisk (*) were not dinosaurs.
How to write a great dinosaur report.

For dinosaur printouts, click here.

For brief dinosaur fact sheets, click here.




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