Although the growth and development of tissues and organs of extinct species cannot be directly observed, their fossils can record and preserve evidence of these mechanisms. It is generally accepted that bone architecture is the result of genetically based biomechanical constraints, but what about osteoderms? In this article, the influence of physical constraints on cranial osteoderms growth is assessed. Comparisons among lepidosaurs, synapsids, and archosaurs are performed; according to these analyses, lepidosaur osteoderms growth is predicted to be less energy demanding than that of synapsids and archosaurs. Obtained results also show that, from an energetic viewpoint, ankylosaurid osteoderms growth resembles more that of mammals than the one of reptilians, adding evidence to debate whether dinosaurs were hot or cold blooded. J. Morphol. 275:923–932, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.