French legend has it that St. Romanus, the bishop of Rouen defeated a Gargouille, a dragon-monster with bat-like wings around 640 A.D. Two versions of the story exist. One says he defeated the monster with a crucifix; the other story says a prisoner (and the only volunteer) helped him slay the beast.

Supposedly he burned the dragon’s body, but attached its head, which would not burn, to the church to protect the church and frighten away evil spirits. So, how did an ancient dinosaur come by the name Gargoyleosaurus?

Fun Facts

  • Gargoyleosaurus was strange looking but it certainly wasn’t a monster. This dinosaur lived during the late Jurassic period, 150 million years ago, and was an ankylosaur.
  • It was related to other ankylosaurs, such as the anklyosaurus, but lived several million years earlier.
  • It was found in Wyoming, U.S. and was 10 feet long from its nose to its tail.
  • It was covered in heavy bone armor, triangular spikes on its sides, flat plates on its back, and small spikes on its tail. It did not have a bony clubbed tail.
  • Gargoyles are statues that have been used for thousands of years to divert rain off the roofs of buildings so the moisture doesn’t damage the mortar.
  • The ancient Egyptians used Gargoyles and the Temple of Zeus had 102 lion-headed gargoyles, 39 of which remain.
  • Gargoyles have a ditch on the back of the sculpture near the wall through which water runs to a spout, usually the gargoyle’s mouth. The water runs out of the mouth to the ground, away from the building.
  • The most famous gargoyles are at the Notre Dame de Paris, a fantastic Catholic church built during the 13th  century.
  • Some statues aren’t designed to carry water. These are called grotesques.
  • Besides their practical use, gargoyles were believed to protect buildings from evil spirits. They’re known as guardians of the night.

Questions and Answers

Question: So how did the Gargoyleosaurus get its name?

Answer: Early gargoyles were designed as the head of a dragon and gargoyle does mean “reptile,” which is why this dinosaur has its name.

Learn More

Read more about Gargoyleosaurus.