The Agilisaurus (“agile lizard”) was a small herbivorous ornithischian dinosaur that lived in China during the Middle Jurassic period, approximately 161–168 million years ago. It was a small dinosaur, measuring only about the same size as a human child. The Agilisaurus was a highly agile creature, and its name reflects this fact.
|What does Agilisaurus mean?||Agile Lizard|
|On the menu||Herbivorous|
|Legs used to get around||Bipedal|
|Estimated top speed||Unknown|
|When they lived||Middle Jurassic, 161-168 million years ago|
|Where they have been found?||China, Eastern Asia|
When & Where
The holotype of the Agilisaurus, which is also the only known specimen, was recovered in 1984 during the construction of the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in Zigong, Sichuan Province, China. The strata from which it was recovered have been dated to the early Oxfordian stage of the Middle Jurassic, approximately 161-168 million years ago.
The genus and species were later described and named in 1990 by Chinese paleontologist Peng Guangzhao. He named the type and only species Agilisaurus louderbacki, after Dr. George Louderback, who was the first to identify dinosaur fossils in the Sichuan Basin.
Size & Weight
By adult standards, the Agilisaurus was a pretty small dinosaur. It is estimated to have reached lengths of 1.2-1.7 meters (4-5.6 feet) and weighed around 40 kg (88 lbs).
Mobility & Diet
Like other ornithopods, the Agilisaurus was a bipedal (two-legged) dinosaur. It is thought to have been an agile creature, with fossil evidence showing that its tibia (shin bone) was relatively long compared to its femur (thigh bone). This would have given the Agilisaurus an extra spring in its step and helped it to move quickly.
The Agilisaurus was a herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaur. It had a beak-like structure on its upper and lower jaws, which would have been ideal for stripping leaves off plants. This is a common feature among ornithopods, as it would have helped them to eat a wide variety of plants.
- The Agilisaurus is thought to be closely related to the Yandusaurus, another small ornithischian dinosaur that lived in China during the Middle Jurassic.
- Its leaf-shaped teeth had a wavy enamel pattern, which is thought to have helped it grind up plant food without wearing down its teeth too quickly.
- The Agilisaurus tailbone lacked the stiffening interwoven bony rods found in the tails of other dinosaurs. For this reason, many scientists believe that it was a burrow-dwelling creature.
- The Agilisaurus is one of the smallest dinosaurs known from nearly complete fossil remains. It can be found on display at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in Zigong, China.