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"Lizard from Lesotho, South Africa"
Lesothosaurus was a small, early, lightly-built dinosaur. It was an herbivore (plant-eater) and a fast, agile runner. It was small and lizard-like, about 3 feet (1 m) long. It walked on two long legs, had four-toed feet, five-fingered hands, short arms, a long pointed tail, a flexible neck, and a small head. Its head was short and flat with large eyes. It had sharp, pointed front teeth and arrow-like cheek teeth, but its lower jaw ended in toothless bone.
WHEN LESOTHOSAURUS LIVED
Lesothosaurus lived in the late Triassic to the early Jurassic period, roughly 208-200 million years ago. Large predators from that time were: pterosaurs, and crocodilians. Other dinosaurs from South Africa who lived during the lower Jurassic include: Massospondylus, Thecodontosaurus, Lanasaurus, and Heterodontosaurus.
Lesothosaurus was an ornithopod, whose intelligence (as measured by its relative brain to body weight, or EQ) was midway among the dinosaurs.
Lesothosaurus was an herbivore (plant-eater). It had sharp teeth that fit together to grind up the tough plant fibers it ate.
Lesothosaurus lived on hot, dry plains in what is now South Africa.
Lesothosaurus was a fast bipedal (two-legged) dinosaur. Dinosaur speeds are estimated using their morphology (characteristics like leg length and estimated body mass) and fossilized trackways.
DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Two Lesothosaurus fossils were found together in Lesotho, South Africa. A lot of extra, ground-down teeth were found in the vicinity. The two were found curled up and paleontologists think that they may have died while hibernating underground to escape the hottest months of the year. The extra teeth may have been shed while hibernating.
Lesothosaurus is known from four skulls and incomplete skeletal fossils.
Lesothosaurus was named by paleontologist Peter M. Galton in 1978.
Fabrosaurus is only known from an incomplete lower jaw found in Lesotho, South Africa, in 1964 by Leonard Ginsburg. Fabrosaurus is very similar to and perhaps the same as Lesothosaurus.
Lesothosaurus was one of the earliest dinosaurs yet found, a very early Ornithischian dinosaur, the order of bird-hipped, herbivorous dinosaurs. It was an Ornithopod (the bird-footed, beaked, bipedal, herbivorous dinosaurs), and belonged to the family Fabrosauridae (the earliest ornithopods, which include Alocodon, Gongbusaurus, Lufengocephalus, Nanosaurus, Technosaurus, and Xiaosaurus). Unlike other ornithischians, the fabrosaurids did not have cheek pouches. The fabrosaurids may have given rise to all of the later ornithischIan dinosaurs..
The type species is L. diagnosticus.
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