Thescelosaurus

Thescelosaurus was a genus of small ornithopod dinosaur that appeared at the very end of the Late Cretaceous period in North America. It is known from several partial skeletons and skulls that indicate it grew to between 2. 5 and 4. 0 metres in length on average. It had sturdy hind limbs, small wide hands, and a head with an elongate pointed snout. Several species have been suggested for this genus. Three currently are recognized as valid: the type species T. neglectus, T. garbanii and T. assiniboiensis.

About Thescelosaurus in brief

Summary ThescelosaurusThescelosaurus was a genus of small ornithopod dinosaur that appeared at the very end of the Late Cretaceous period in North America. It is known from several partial skeletons and skulls that indicate it grew to between 2. 5 and 4. 0 metres in length on average. It had sturdy hind limbs, small wide hands, and a head with an elongate pointed snout. Several species have been suggested for this genus. Three currently are recognized as valid: the type species T. neglectus, T. garbanii and T. assiniboiensis. The genus attracted media attention in 2000, when a specimen unearthed in 1993 in South Dakota, United States, was interpreted as including a fossilized heart. Many scientists now doubt the identification of the object and the implications of such an identification. It was a member of the last dinosaurian fauna before the Cretsaceous–Paleogene extinction event around 66 million years ago. The type specimen was discovered in 1891 by paleontologists John Bell Hatcher and William H. Utterback, from beds of the late Maastrichtian-age Upper Cret Jurassic Lance Formation of Niobrara County, Wyoming, USA. The name comes from the surprise Gilmore felt at finding such a good specimen that had been unattended to for so long. He considered it to be a light, agile creature, and assigned it to the Hypsilophodontidae, a family of small bipedal dinosaurs. Other remains of similar animals were found throughout the late 19th century and 20th century.

Another well-preserved skeleton from the slightly older Horseshoe Canyon Formation, in Alberta, Canada, was named T. warreni by William Parks in 1926. This skeleton had notable differences from T. neglectus and so Charles M. Sternberg placed it in a new genus, Parksosaurus, in 1937. In 1974 Peter Galton’s review of T. edmontonensis drew attention to the genus’ heavy build and thick bones. He suggested that the genus warranted its own subfamily, Thescelosaurinae. In his paper, William J. Morris described a specimen consisting of a partial skull with heavy ridges on the jaw and cheek, and four partial vertebrae as an unidentified species of Thes Celedosaurus. He also named a possible new species of Bugenaura infernalis for a possible possible new genus of Laura. This skull was recognized as an unnamed hypsiliphodont species and made it the type specimen of new genus Bugenetas infernas. Galton claimed its ankle was damaged and misinterpreted, but which was regarded by William Morris as truly different from the other two species. The other point of contention regarding T. Edmontonensis is its ankle, which Galton claims was damaged  and misinterpreted. However, Boyd and colleagues found that they could not assign it to either of their valid species and regarded the specimen as of uncertain placement within the genus.