The Thyreophora is a group of armoured dinosaurs, better known as the Stegosaurians and the Ankylosaurs, that lived between the Early Jurassic and the Late Cretaceous. They are characterized by their body armour, which had many shapes and size, like back plates and large osteoderms. Some species, especially within the Stegosaurians, had extensive numbers of spikes on their back, tail and sides that were often used as defence or display. In general, the group consisted of strictly herbivorous species.
Distribution & Fossil evidence
Fossils of Stegosaurians and Ankylosaurs have been found on all continents. The first members of the group lived in the Northern Hemisphere and were small, slender-build animals with already armoured osteoderms on their backs. They probably walked on two legs instead of four in many later evolved genuses.
There are numerous genuses and species known within the group of Thyreophora. Famous species are probably Stegosaurus, Kentrosaurus and Ankylosaurus.