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LESOTHOSAURUS

a plant-eating thyreophoran dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of Lesotho.
Pronunciation: lee-soo-too-SOR-us
Meaning: Lizard from Lesotho
Author/s: Galton (1978)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Mafeteng, Lesotho
Chart Position: 212

Lesothosaurus diagnosticus

With a name like Lesothosaurus this herbivorous ornithischian dinosaur could only be from one place; Lesotho (lee-soo-too), the world's southern-most landlocked country being completely surrounded by South Africa, and one of the few places still classed as a Kingdom.

Based on material previously assigned to Fabrosaurus australis by Richard Thulborn in the early seventies, the "Lizard from Lesotho" was small, sleek and streamlined. Its legs were much longer than its arms and ideally suited to tearing around the hot arid Lesotho plains, while its hands were short with four stiff fingers (five if you count the fifth stump) which were ill equipped for grasping. Likewise, its mouth was ill-equipped for chewing 'cos it didn't have cheeks, so fodder was roughly snipped by the keratinous beak which tipped its upper and lower jaw, then swallowed as is to be processed in the stomach by gastroliths.

Classification-wise, Lesothosaurus has been all around the ornithischian family tree and pegged as an ornithopod, the most primitive of all known ornithischians, a basal neornithischian, a juvenile Stormbergia and a misunderstood species of Fabrosaurus by various experts at various times. In 2008 the results of Butler, Upchurch and Norman's analysis pointed to a primitive form of thyreophoran — one of the armoured ornithichians or "shield bearers" — which, funnily enough, would make it the only known shield bearer that doesn't bear a shield.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Jurassic
Stage: Hettangian
Age range: 201-189 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 1 meters
Est. max. hip height: 0.5 meters
Est. max. weight: 8 Kg
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Thyreophora
Lesothosaurus
diagnosticus
References
• Butler R.J. (2005) "The 'fabrosaurid' ornithischian dinosaurs of the Upper Elliot Formation (Lower Jurassic) of South Africa and Lesotho".
• Butler R.J., Upchurch P. and Norman D.B. (2008) "The phylogeny of the ornithischian dinosaurs".
• Paul G.S. (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs".
• Laura B. Porro, Lawrence M. Witmer & Paul M. Barrett (2015) "Digital preparation and osteology of the skull of Lesothosaurus diagnosticus (Ornithischia: Dinosauria)". PeerJ 3:e1494. doi: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1494
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "LESOTHOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 18th Dec 2017.
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