Leaellynasaura (Leaellyn’s lizard)
Leaellynasaura (Leaellyn's lizard)
Named By : Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich – 1989
Diet : Herbivore
Size : Estimated 1.5 – 2 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Euornithopod
Type Species : L. amicagraphica (type)
Found in : Australia, Victoria
When it Lived : Early Cretaceous, 115-110 million years ago
Leaellynasaura, which means “Leaellyn’s lizard”, is a genus small herbivorous elasmarian and ornithopod dinosaurs that was first discovered in Dinosaur Cove (Australia) during the Early Cretaceous. It dates back to between 118 million and 110 millions years ago. Leaellynasaura is the only species known. It was first described in 1989 and named after Leaellyn Rich (the daughter of Australian paleontologist Tom Rich and Patricia VickersRich), who discovered it. Amicagraphica is the specific name and honors both the Friends of the Museum of Victoria as well as the National Geographic Society for their support of Australian paleontology.
Photographer: Benjamin HealleySource: Museums Victoria, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Leaellynasaura, a small dinosaur measuring approximately 90 cm (3 feet) in height, is about 3 feet (3 inches) in length. There are several examples, including two complete skeletons and two fragmentary heads. Herne (2009) stated that Leaellynasaura had no ossified tail tendons, which is a departure from other advanced ornithischians. His argument was that the tail is notable for being the longest relative to the body size of any ornithischian. It had three times the length of the entire body, and it also has more tail vertebrae then any other ornithischians, except for some hadrosaurs. In a revision of fossil material attributed Leaellynasaura Herne (2013), it was not possible to confidently assign the long tails to the postcranial skulls. This includes any fossils other that the holotype incomplete Cranium MVP185991, right maxilla (MV P186352) and left maxillary teeth (MV P186412, all from the late Aptian-early Albian Emeralla Formation).