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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Leaellynasaura BW.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Cerapoda
Infraorder: Ornithopoda
Genus: Leaellynasaura
Rich & Rich, 1989
  • L. amicagraphica Rich & Rich, 1989 (type)

Leaellynasaura (meaning "Leaellyn's lizard") was a fast-running, plant-eating dinosaur that lived in Australia during the middle Cretaceous Period, roughly 115-110 million years ago. Australia was within the Antarctic Circle during the Cretaceous period, and it had a very long winter.

Description[change | change source]

Leaellynasaura is known from two nearly complete skeletons and two skulls. It is described as an ornithopod.[1] Unlike some other ornithischians, the Leaellynasaura did not have any tendons in its tail. The tail is known for being among the longest of its relatives: it was three times longer than the rest of the whole body. It also has more vertebrae in its tail than any other ornithischians except for some hadrosaurs.[2] It also had large eyes to help it look in the dark winter.

References[change | change source]

  1. Federico L. Agnolin, Martın D. Ezcurra, Diego F. Pais and Steven W. Salisbury (2010). "A reappraisal of the Cretaceous non-avian dinosaur faunas from Australia and New Zealand: evidence for their Gondwanan affinities" Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 8 (2) [1]
  2. Herne, M. (2009). "Postcranial osteology of Leaellynasaura amicagraphica (Dinosauria; Ornithischia) from the Early Cretaceous of southeastern Australia." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29(3): 33A.[2]