Struthiosaurus (Ostrich lizard)
Emanuel Bunzel - 1871
Estimated 3 meters long
S. austriacus (type), S. languedocensis, S. transylvanicus
Austria - Coal-Bearing Complex Formation, Grünbach Formation. France. Romania - Sânpetru Formation, Sard Formation, Sebes Formation. Spain - Sierra Perenchiza Formation, Vitoria Formation
Late Cretaceous, 70 million years ago
Struthiosaurus was a small, herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 70 million years ago. It was a member of the ornithopod group, which means “bird-hipped”, and was closely related to other dinosaurs such as Iguanodon and Hypsilophodon.
The name Struthiosaurus means “ostrich lizard”, and it was given this name because of its similarity to modern-day ostriches. Like ostriches, Struthiosaurus had a small head and long neck, which it used to graze on low-lying vegetation. It also had powerful hind legs that allowed it to move quickly when it needed to.
Struthiosaurus was a relatively small dinosaur, measuring around 3 meters (10 feet) in length and weighing around 400 kilograms (880 pounds). It had a broad, heavily-armored body, with rows of bony plates along its back and tail that provided protection from predators. It also had a strong, beak-like mouth that it used to grind up tough plant material.
Despite its armored body, Struthiosaurus was still vulnerable to attack by predators such as small theropod dinosaurs, and may have relied on speed and agility to avoid being caught. Fossil evidence suggests that it may have lived in large herds, which would have provided additional protection against predators.
Struthiosaurus is known from a number of fossil specimens, including skeletons and isolated bones, which have been found in Europe, particularly in Germany, France, and Romania. These fossils have provided important insights into the anatomy and behavior of this small, but fascinating dinosaur.