Scutosaurus BW

Restoration of Scutosaurus

Scutosaurus ("shield reptile") was a pareiasaur reptile that lived in the Late Permian of Russia.


Scutosaurus was large and heavily built, growing up to 3 meters in length and up to a tonne in weight.[1] Its body was covered in bony armor in the form of scutes under its skin. Because of all this armor, it could not move very fast.

The skull of Scutosaurus is broad and flat, and has protruding cheekbones.


Scutosaurus was a type of pareiasaur, and was one of the largest known examples. There is currently only one valid species in the genus, S. karpinskii.[2]



Computer-generated restoration of Scutosaurus

Scutosaurus was originally described as a species of Pareiasaurus by Amalitzky in 1922.[3] It was not until 1930 that A. Hartmann-Weinberg moved the fossils into a separate genus.[4]



Scutosaurus was a herbivore with flattened teeth. Because it lived in a semiarid climate, it may have needed to travel long distances in order to find enough suitable food.

In popular cultureEdit

Scutosaurus appeared in the third episode of the 2003 BBC documentary series Walking with Monsters. It was portrayed as a social animal that migrated in herds, and as a prey item of gorgonopsids. Scutosaurus also appeared briefly in the ITV television series Primeval.


  1. Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 64. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
  2. M. S. Y. Lee. 1997. A taxonomic revision of pareiasaurian reptiles: implications for Permian terrestrial paleoecology. Modern Geology 21:231-298 [J. Mueller/T. Liebrecht/M. Carrano]
  3. A. P. Amalitzky. 1922. Diagnoses of the new forms of Vertebrates and Plants from the Upper Permian on North Dvina. Bulletin de l’Académie des Sciences de Russie, VIème série [Izvestiya Rossijskoj Akademii Nauk, VI seriya] 16:329-340
  4. A. Hartmann-Weinberg. 1930. Zur Systematik der Nord-Düna-Pareiasauridae. Palaeontologische Zeitschrift 12(1):47-59 [J. Mueller/T. Liebrecht]