Xixiasaurus (Xixia lizard)
J. Lü, L. Xu, Y. Liu, X. Zhang, S. Jia, & Q. Ji. 2010
Estimated 1.5 meters long
X. henanensis (type)
China, Henan Province, Xixia County - Majiacun Formation
Early Cretaceous, 130 million years ago
Xixiasaurus is a genus of small, herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous period, around 130 million years ago. Its name is derived from the area of China where its remains were first discovered, Xixia County in Henan Province, and the Greek word “sauros,” meaning lizard.
Xixiasaurus was a member of the family Hypsilophodontidae, which includes small, agile ornithopods that were common during the Early Cretaceous period. Like other hypsilophodontids, Xixiasaurus was bipedal and had a long tail that likely helped it maintain balance. It was a relatively small dinosaur, measuring about 1.5 meters (5 feet) in length and weighing around 10-15 kilograms (22-33 pounds).
The most distinctive feature of Xixiasaurus was its teeth, which were shaped like a spoon and flattened from side to side. This adaptation likely helped it to grind tough plant material, such as the tough leaves and stems of cycads, which were common in its environment.
The discovery of Xixiasaurus has provided important insights into the diversity and evolution of small herbivorous dinosaurs during the Early Cretaceous period in China. Its unique dental adaptations demonstrate the variety of ways in which dinosaurs adapted to different diets, and how these adaptations influenced their morphology and behavior.