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Meet the following specimen of Armatae Bestia. I'd describe it, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll just put one here instead (Feel free to drag it into browser window to get a much bigger picture).

Armatae Bestia Specimen Side View

As you can see, the beast has a heavily armored body. The Armatae Bestia are herbivores, and they live in sparse forests in herds, letting their armor protect them.

I've hit a slight hiccup though. When I modeled the species, I wanted it to look bad ass, and I had intended for these creatures to be hunted by those of my world in order to use the armor for shielding/weaponry. I put "studs" into the armor plates. See closeups 1 and 2 (blue circles in closeup 2 show the studs I'm talking about.

Closeup 1: Closeup 1

Closeup 2: (Note: Not all the studs are circled, I only circled some.) Closeup 2

I'm having trouble explaining how they evolved to have studs in their armor. Typically, armor is smooth in order to deflect things; Scales and shells come to mind. But I REALLY like the way the studs look, even though this thing essentially has "shells" growing on it.

What would cause a cow sized beast to evolve studs in their armor plates?

Additional notes:

  • If a specific predator type of damage from a predator caused this, please detail the kind of damage the predator inflicted - there is no need to actually invent the predator, proper logic to explain why the studs would help against the predator's attack is enough.

  • If weather or climate conditions could have caused this, please explain what how and why.

Slightly modified pictures for those who have trouble seeing the darker original colors.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ This looks like a model for a video game or a movie. Share some details ;) $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Sep 16 '15 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ The pictures are kind of dark. I can't make out details other than knobs on a black background. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Sep 16 '15 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz I'll do some photo editing and swap them out for a lighter one later, I think. Are they ALL too dark, or is it just specific ones? $\endgroup$ – Aify Sep 16 '15 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ @YoustayIgo It is indeed a model I'm making for one of my games. Earth-like world setting, but not actually on Earth. I'm designing the world for it as well. $\endgroup$ – Aify Sep 16 '15 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ Hey hey hey! When is the game going to be out? Name? Publisher? Genre? :D :D :D $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Sep 16 '15 at 14:54
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I'm having trouble explaining how they evolved to have studs in their armor. Typically, armor is smooth in order to deflect things

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO ... * stops to breathe * ... OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Your creature design is amazingly realistic and practical. Ask me, I have studied paleontology in some detail and I can tell your Artimarataia Berstiaotitae could have in fact appeared in some tetrapod lineages if evolution had taken a slight turn.

Oh plus, don't call those tiny protruberances "studs". Their proper biological name is osteoderm.

Are Osteoderms Only A Thing Of Fiction And Fantasy? NO!

I proudly present you ... one of the living creatures, found in a lot of areas of the world. Yours truly ... drum roll ... The Crocodile!

The crocodilian skin

As you can see * ahem ahem * ...

Crocodile skin close-up

And just to drag the croc talk a bit longer, there are 3 basic types of crocodiles alive. The "true" crocodiles (limited to Africa only. Also there are some saltwater crocs). The alligators (Americas). The caimans (India). And ALL of them have these bony protruding scutes.

Oops. Don't forget the little cuddly duddly armadillo!

Armadillo skin

And The Dinosaurs!

Yes, there was a whole group of dinosaurs which featured some really heavy armoring and all of those came with osteoderms! They are known as Ankylosauria.

Here are a couple of the better known ankylosaurids.

enter image description here The dude was known as Scelidosaurus.

enter image description here This is Ankylosaurus and he needs a cuddle.

OK so. I could really go on naming one after another creature with dermal scutes. But I think the point has been made.

Why Dermal Scutes Than Plain Armor?

1- It seriously hurts to try to bite, strike or grapple you. Yeah it does. Don't come arguing unless you have punched a Nile Crocodile on the back 100 times.

2- Osteoderms provide a sort of anchorage to the armor and make it lighter. Yes, they do. Creatures featuring osteoderms do not have a very thick underlaying sheet of armor because osteoderms do the job satisfactorily enough. Imagine a tortoise with scutes and a tortoise without scutes. The one with scutes can afford to make its shell lighter because predators would find it very displeasing to try to eat something resembling a porcupine with somewhat blunt spines.

3- Osteoderms make the animal look formidable, too. Plain armor does not. So most of the times a predator won't even want to mess with you at all.

So, what else are you looking for to support your creature's scutes?

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    $\begingroup$ If someone punches a Nile crocodile on the back a hundred times and is still capable of arguing (i.e., wasn't eaten during the first attempt), he/she should either play the lottery or be in an insane asylum. Or both. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Sep 16 '15 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ Ahem. I didn't necessarily imply punching a live Nile croc. They are free to find a dead Nile croc, hang it to a tree like a punching bag and punch it's back where the osteoderms are present. If they still return and claim that it doesn't hurt, I'd rethink my argument. $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Sep 16 '15 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ Where's the thrill in punching a dead croc? ;) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Sep 16 '15 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ I think you have officially ensured this question will get only a single answer. (good answer btw...) $\endgroup$ – James Sep 16 '15 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ With this, I can see your argument for spikes - but you also say that the spikes make the thick armor unnecessary, whereas on my creature, the studs are specifically on the thick armor plates (If the pictures didn't show that well enough I'll can snap a different angle on the model). Why then, would it have studs AND the plate? $\endgroup$ – Aify Sep 16 '15 at 14:27

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