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Thescelosaurus was a genus of small ornithopod dinosaur that appeared at the very end of the Late Cretaceous period in North America. It was a member of the last dinosaurian fauna before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event around 66 million years ago.

Since its discovery, Thescelosaurus has been compared to vaguely similar-looking dinosaurs such as Hypsilophodon of Europe. However, Thescelosaurus lacked an affinity for speed. Its femur (thigh bone) is similar in size to its tibia (shinbone). But in hardcore runners like Hypsilophodon, the latter bone is significantly longer. Also, Thescelosaurus’ toe bones were—unhelpfully—on the short and stubby side. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be evasive: When necessary, a low center of gravity enabled this animal to make sharp, maneuverable turns.

A 2010 study proposed that, given the types of rocks their fossils are normally found in, Thescelosaurus usually lived around streams and rivers while many other dinosaurs in Hell Creek (like Triceratops) targeted drier land. If Thescelosaurus lived near water browsing upon softer plants growing by the water,‭ ‬then this may have also been an escape route for them when they got attacked.‭ ‬As soon as a predator showed up they may have entered and swum into and across the river,‭ ‬explaining why Thescelosaurus did not retain leg proportions for running,‭ ‬and also how the genus came to be so widespread.‭ ‬Reduced limb proportions would have also helped with locomotion through the water by not being so easy to get tangled in underwater weeds and debris.

Thescelosaurus-ontogeny-all-1

Thescelosaurus lifecycle

Thescelosaurus had pointed teeth at the front of the mouth and leaf shaped teeth towards the back.‭ ‬Leaf shaped teeth like these are common in herbivorous dinosaurs that feed upon softer plants as they easily slice through leafy plant material.‭ ‬The pointed teeth are a little more puzzling however,‭ ‬as they are not as well suited to an exclusive diet of plants.‭ ‬This has led some to speculate that Thescelosaurus might have been omnivorous,‭ ‬either eating small animals like lizards or occasionally scavenging carrion.‭ ‬Prominent ridges on the maxilla bones of the skull and the observation that the leaf-shaped maxilla teeth are set well inside the mouth support the idea that Thescelosaurus had quite muscular cheeks to stop food spilling out of the sides of the mouth when processing food.‭ ‬Six pairs of small teeth were also present in the pre-maxilla,‭ ‬though the tip of the premaxilla was toothless to accommodate the horny beak that covered the front of the mouth.‭ ‬This beak would have been the primary shearing apparatus when cropping plants.

Predatory threats to Thescelosaurus were many and as adults included the famous tyrannosaur Tyrannosaurus,‭ ‬to the troodont Pectinodon,‭ ‬to ‬the dromaeosaurs,‭ Dakotaraptor and Acheroraptor, the crocodilians Borealosuchus, and for young included the oviraptorid Anzu, to the lizard Palaeosaniwa, and to the pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus.

In Saurian Edit

Thescelosaurus will appear in Saurian. It is portrayed with a mix of feathers and scales. Its' color is black and a red, black and white striped tail to match its' habitat, and a blue throat pouch and a red stripe for display.

GalleryEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Hell Creek: A Field Guide to the World of Saurian

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