Thyreophora is the name of the so-called armored dinosaurs, which existed from the Early Jurassic period until the end of the Cretaceous period. The name Thyreophora can be translated as "shield bearers". They main characteristic is the presence of their bony plates ("body armor") which was lined up in longitudinal rows along the body of the dinosaur. The elements, from which the body armor was composed of, could be simple keeled scutes, osteoderms, spikes or plates. Most of these dinosaurs followed a herbivorous diet. A small brain/body size ratio was also characteristic for them. Besides basal thyreophorans, there are two suborders between Thyreophora: Ankylosauria and Stegosauria. Their sister group is the clade Neornithischia , into which Marginocephalia and Ornithopoda dinosaurs belonged. The systematic group containing both Thyreophora and Neornithischia is called genasauria[1][2][3][4].

Scientific references

[1] Richard S. Thompson, Jolyon C. Parish, Susannah C. R. Maidment and Paul M. Barrett (2011): Phylogeny of the ankylosaurian dinosaurs (Ornithischia: Thyreophora). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 10 (2): 301-312. doi: 10.1080/14772019.2011.569091.

[2] Riguetti, Facundo J.; Apesteguía, Sebastián; Pereda-Suberbiola, Xabier (2022-08-11): A new Cretaceous thyreophoran from Patagonia supports a South American lineage of armoured dinosaurs. Scientific Report, 12 (1): 11621. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-15535-6.

[3] Norman, David B (2021-01-01): Scelidosaurus harrisonii (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Early Jurassic of Dorset, England: biology and phylogenetic relationships. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 191 (1): 1-86. doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa061.