Parksosaurus (meaning “Park’s lizard”) is one of the last euornithopod dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous Period. Based on fossil remains found in Alberta, Canada, and Montana, USA, this small herbivore was one of the few non-hadrosaurid euornithopods to survive into the Late Cretaceous.

Key Facts

Parksosaurus pronunciationPARKS-oh-SORE-us
What does Parksosaurus mean?Park’s lizard
Dinosaur typeEuornithopod
On the menuHerbivorous
Length2.5 meters (8 feet )
Height1 m (3 feet 3 inches)
Weight40kg (about 88 lbs)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundBiped
Estimated top speed48 km/h 30 mph
When they livedLate Cretaceous era 76-74 million years ago
Where they have been found?Canada

When & Where

The first Parksosaurus remains were uncovered in the Edmonton area of Alberta, Canada in 1922. In 1926, paleontologist William Parks discovered more remains of the same animal in southern Alberta. These finds led to the description and naming of Thescelosaurus warreni, which was later shown to be a junior synonym (same animal as another already named genus) of Parksosaurus. Parksosaurus is one of the last euornithopods, a group of two-legged, plant-eating dinosaurs

Size & Weight

The Parksosaurus was a small dinosaur, only measuring about 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long, 3.3 feet (1 meter) tall, and weighing around 40 kg (88lbs). It would have been about the same size as a human child.

As a hypsilophodon, Parksosaurus was a small, bipedal, ground-dwelling herbivore that would have been adept at running. It was first described as Thescelosaurus warreni in 1926 by paleontologist William Parks. It closely resembled the Thescelosaurus group of hypsilophodonts but was later found to be its own distinct genus by Charles M. Sternberg.

Mobility & Diet

Like other euornithopods, the Parksosaurus was a biped, meaning it got around on two legs. Due to its particularly small size, this dinosaur was an easy target for predators. It is likely that the Parksosaurus was a fast runner and used speed to escape danger. It had strong thigh muscles, and its bones were hollow, both of which helped it to run quickly.

The Parksosaurus was a herbivore and would have eaten plants. It had beak and cheek teeth that were well-suited for slicing through plant matter.

Interesting Points

  • The Parksosaurus could easily outrun its large and heavy predators by sprinting up to 30 mph (48 km/h).
  • Parksosaurus had long toes that they used to walk in muddy areas and river beds, likely where they found most of their food.
  • The Parksosaurus briefly appeared in the Tv show, Walking with Dinosaurs, being chased by a Dromaeosaurus.

Featured Image Credit: I, Steveoc 86, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons