Nodosaurids in Detail

Known as the "node lizards", the nodosaurids are the second of the three families of  ankylosaurs.  They are set apart from the other families because they have spines on the shoulders and neck that protrude outwards.  Also, they do not have a club on their tail, unlike the ankylosaurids.  The nodosaurids arrived on the scene during the Albian, with Sauropelta being the first.  Sauropelta was a very big nodosaurid measuring about 5.5m in length.  It is a well-known ankylosaur from the Albian.  The origin for the nodosaurids is thought to be somewhere in Europe, but there is still much debate on the issue.  Nodosaurids and polacanthids were the only families to have traveled throughout Europe.  It is widely believed that the ankylosaurids did not.  The nodosaurids had spread to Antarctica by the Campanian.  They likely traveled across South America to reach the continent. The extinction of this family is believed to be during the Maastrichtian, but before the mass dinosaur extinction at K/T boundary.  The extinction occurred at about the same time in North America and Europe.   Nodosaurids lived mostly in low coastal environments, but did occupy some upland environments as well.  Change in sea level has been suggested as a partial explanation for their extinction.


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