Complicated Name, Small Dinosaur?

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage Ceylon Today Features | Published: 2:00 AM Jul 3 2021
Scribbler Complicated Name, Small Dinosaur?

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage Ceylon Today Features

 It’s true that the world, hundreds of millions of years ago was very different from the one we know about today. Today, we’re going to showcase a somewhat small dinosaur found from the land-down-under, Australia that has a really complicated name to say.

 We are talking about the Leaellynasaura (pronounced Lee-ellIn-uh-SAW-ruh). Yes, it’s not the easiest name to pronounce. Imagine if one of your friends had a name like that. We don’t know a lot about this dinosaur, besides the many fragments of bones and other material that have been found as fossils. But the ones we have discovered are enough to tell more about them. 

One beak-mouth and two big eyes 

Judging from the look of its skull, we know that this dinosaur that lived back in the Early Cretaceous period, over a hundred million years ago had a mouth that looked like a beak with teeth on its top-jaw and two really large eyes on either side of its head. Scientists judge that the area where this dinosaur’s fossils have been found used to be a dense forest with plenty of foliage that blocked the light of the sun reaching the forest floor.

 Having big eyes mean more light can enter the eyes to help it see better. It would also explain its relatively small size, not even reaching the height of a person. Being a big animal in a dense forest wouldn’t make much sense because it would have to move slowly. This way, it would’ve been able to hide from predators and hide easily when it needed to. 

A herbivore 

Yes. Scientists believe that the Leaellynasaura was not a meat eater. These dinosaurs might have fed on ferns, cycads and flowering plants that grew on the forest floor. However, it did have clawed hands and long legs to move fast.

A hibernator? 

We do know that there were a lot of these Leaellynasaura. Palaeontologists believe that they might have travelled in large groups, much like the animals who travel as herds today. Also, we do know that Australia used to have a climate that is a lot colder than it is today, which made researchers wonder how these reptiles survived the harsh, cold seasons. 

Well, small burrows with dinosaurs were found in the area we call southern Victoria in the present. Because of this, there is a theory that Leaellynasaura and other small dinosaurs might have hibernated during the winter. However, we don’t know everything as a fact.

 So much to be discovered 

This means that there is still a lot we don’t know about the Leaellynasaura. Who knows what else we will discover with ongoing research and study.

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage Ceylon Today Features | Published: 2:00 AM Jul 3 2021

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