The Lesothosaurus was one of the smallest ornithopods that ever existed. They were also the earliest known member of the Ornithiscia, or the bird-hipped dinosaurs. Lived in the Lower Jurassic period.

Key facts

Lesothosaurus pronunciationLe-SO-toe-sore-us
What does Lesothosaurus mean?The name Lesothosaurus was given by paleontologist Peter Galeon, and it means, “Lizard from Lesotho”, as it lived in South Africa and Lesotho as well.
Dinosaur typeOrnithopod
On the menuHerbivore
Length2 meters (6.6 feet)
Height33 centimeters (1 foot)
Weight10 kg
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedthe exact speed or estimated speed remains unknown.
When they livedThe Lesothosaurus were known to have lived during the Lower Jurassic which was 213-200 million years ago.
Where they have been found?As the name implies, the Lesothosaurus were discovered to have lived in South Africa, most specifically in Lesotho, in which the fossils were first found.

When & Where

In the year 1978, a paleontologist named Peter Galton discovered a fossil that consist of at least 4 skulls and other skeletal remains in South Africa and Lesotho, specifically in the Upper Elliot Formation in the Mafeteng District, that was later on named a Lesothosaurus, which translates to “Lizard in Lesotho”.

Mobility & Diet

With its jaws that are lined with jagged teeth along with a pointed beak, it worked well for the Lesothosaurus to be able to eat vegetables and other vegetation. When they chew, the upper teeth would fit exactly with the lower teeth in a chopping motion, which made it easier for them to consume their food. Other scientists also suggest that the Lesothosaurus would have been an omnivore as well as they sometimes eat insects and carrion. 

Interesting Points

  • Existed from 201.3 million years ago to 190.8 million years ago.
  • Lesothosaurus lived in a terrestrial environment.
  • They were also herbivores.
  • The Lesothosaurus were able to reproduce by laying eggs.
  • 5 different specimens have also been found by paleontologists.
  • Upon the discovery of the remains of the Lesothosaurus in South Africa, there were two other fossils found which contain the teeth of a Lesothosaurus. Because of this, there were speculations that the teeth were shed and naturally replaced occasionally and most Lesothosaurus slept underground through hot and dry periods.