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Xiaosaurus (Getty Images)


Xiaosaurus (Chinese/Greek for "little lizard"); pronounced show-sore-us


Woodlands of Asia

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (170-160 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 5 feet long and 75-100 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; bipedal posture; leaf-shaped teeth


About Xiaosaurus:

Yet another notch in the belt of the famous Chinese paleontologist Dong Zhiming, who discovered its scattered fossils in 1983, Xiaosaurus was a small, inoffensive, plant-eating ornithopod of the late Jurassic period that may have been ancestral to Hypsilophodon (and may itself have been descended from Fabrosaurus). Other than that, though, not much is known about this dinosaur, and Xiaosaurus may yet turn out to be a species of an already-named genus of ornithopod.

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