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Massospondylus was a primitive, common dinosaur. Massospondylus lived about 205-194 million years ago, during the early Jurassic period.

Anatomy: Massospondylus had a long neck, a long tail, and a small head. It had large, five-fingered hands with a large thumb claw. Massospondylus may have been able to use its hand for grasping in addition to walking. Massospondylus was about 13 feet (4 m) long.

Diet: Massospondylus was an herbivore (a plant-eater). It swallowed pebbles and small stones to help in the digestion of the tough plant material that it ate. These gizzard stones (also called gastroliths) help grind up the food in the stomach.

Fossils: Massospondylus was named by paleontologist Richard Owen in 1854, based on vertebrae found in South Africa. Many Massospondylus fossils have been found in Africa (in Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa) and North America (in Arizona).

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