Nanosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that belonged to the genus Ornithischia. Its thin legs and stiffened tail increased its agility and speed. 

H2 Key Facts

Nanosaurus pronunciationNah-noe-sore-us
What does Nanosaurus mean?The meaning of the name Nanosaurus is ‘small or dwarf lizard’.
Dinosaur typeOrnithischia
On the menuHerbivore
Length1.2 m
Height2 m
Weight10 kg
Life expectancyThe lifespan of Nanosaurus is not yet identified.
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedThere’s no exact or estimated measurement of how fast they moved; however, it is said that they were able to cover large distances without difficulty.
When they livedNanosaurus existed about 155 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period.
Where they have been found?Most of the fossils were collected in the USA, North America, Colorado, and Utah. They used to settle in lakes, streams, swamps and rivers. Their main diet was plant-based, hence they tend to live close to vegetation.

When & Where

In 1877, partial fossil remains were collected from the Morrison Formation of Garden Park in Colorado. It was named after Professor Othniel Charles Marsh, the American Paleontologist that described the fossils. It was first named Othniella but then was changed to Nanosaurus. 

Size & Weight

This bipedal Ornithischian was about 1.2 m in length, 2 m tall and weighed about 10 kg.

Mobility & Diet

Nanosaurus used to travel in flocks with large animals, such as the heavy-built Stegosaurus and other Sauropod dinosaurs for their protection. Their diet was mainly based on low-growing vegetation, they even ate smashed cycad from other animals’ meals.

Interesting Points

  • Nanosaurus was given the scientific name of Nanosaurus agilis.
  • There were about 6 different specimens collected by the paleontologists.
  • It is assumed that it’s one of the dinosaurs that went extinct 65 million years ago.
  • There were actually 3 species named with the same name but the second one was separated by genus a year after.
  • Nanosaurus was thought to be a Hypsilophondontid due to its small size and somewhat looked the same as Hypsilophodon.
  • Nanosaurus appeared in the novel version of Jurassic Park.
  • It also appeared in Jurassic Park III: Park Builder game with its synonymous name ‘Othnielia’.