Scutellosaurus lived about 200 million years ago. Itwas one of the most primitive armored dinosaurs of its time. Two rows of large plates ran down its back. Hundreds of small bony plates - six different types - covered its back and tail. These bony shields grew out of its skin. They protected this dinosaur against bigger, meat-eating dinosaurs. The name Scutellosaurus means "little shield lizard". It looked like a lizard and it wasn’t very large. It was only about four feet long and 18 inches tall. Its tail was long, about half its total length. It weighed about 22 pounds. It was about the size of a sheep.
Even though it had a lot of heavy plates on its skin, Scuttellosauruswas a very fast runner. Often, the best protection a dinosaur could have against predators was to run away as quickly as possible. Its thin hind legs were much longer than its front legs. When it ran, it ran on two legs. It could also walk on four legs, which might have been easier since all that armor was heavy.
Scuttellosaurus liked to live in hot, dry places. It was an herbivore, meaning that it only ate plants. It had leaf-shaped teeth to snip off leaves, but probably did not chew its food before swallowing. This is because it didn’t have any cheeks to store its food. So it might have swallowed its food whole. Fossils of Scutellosaurushave been found in what is now Arizona, North America.