Albertadromeus is a genus from the family Parksosauridae consisting of only one species, Albertadromeus syntarsus. These dinosaurs were said to have existed about 77-76 million years ago during the middle Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. They are the only species from the subfamily Orodrominae to have been discovered in Alberta, Canada.
These ornithopod dinosaurs were ground-dwelling herbivores who fed on small plants and grasses. They are also speculated to have been among the lowest species on the dinosaur food chain. However, the structure of their hind leg suggests this dinosaur was an efficient runner and it was also speculated to have lived in underground burrows. In addition, based on the analysis Oldman Formation paleoenvironment, these dinosaurs were said to have lived on coastal plains.
The genus Albertadromeus and its species were described by Michael Ryan, Caleb Marshall Brown, Anthony P. Russell, and David C. Evans. The name comprises 'Alberta', based on where it was found, and the Greek word 'dromeus', which means "runner", and put together it means "runner from Alberta."
The name 'Albertadromeus', which means 'runner from Alberta', is pronounced as 'Al-ber-tah-droe-mee-us'.
The Albertadromeus is a genus of Parksosaurid dinosaurs under the subfamily of Orodrominae.
They are said to have roamed the earth during the middle Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous temporal range.
Based on the fossilized evidence, these dinosaurs are estimated to have gone extinct around 77-76 million years ago.
Orodromine fossils are mostly found across North America, and only in the United States and Canada. In addition, the Albertadromeus was the only dinosaur of this subfamily to have been discovered in Alberta, Canada among the Oldman Formation of the Belly River Group.
After the analysis of the Oldman Formation Paleoenvironment, especially the upper region of the Late Cretaceous, scientists have concluded that this species lived on coastal plains. In addition, they were ground dwellers that lived in burrows which means low-lying, flat land with grasses along the sea coast would be the ideal habitat.
Not much is known about the lifestyle of these dinosaurs, especially whether they were solitary, were part of groups, or lived in pairs. However, some speculations have been made that they may have lived among other herbivore dinosaurs such as Corythosaurus, Albertaceratops, Chasmosaurus, and parasaurolophus.
The lifespan of these ground dwellers has not been recorded.
There is no detailed information about the reproduction system of the Albertadromeus, but it has been confirmed that they were oviparous animals and showed avian reproductive traits. Since their body weight was not too heavy, they could have incubated the nest eggs themselves. However, they are also known to have lived in burrows and could have laid their eggs in one too, just like the common kingfisher.
The Albertadromeus were the tiniest discovered plant-eating dinosaur species. They had lean, even-toned bodies with a long, tapering tail which made up almost half its total body length. These were bipedal and had legs built for sprinting away from predators. They had small, clawed forelimbs, which may have helped them dig through the ground and create burrows. In addition, nothing is known about the features of its head because the skull of this species has not been found.
The exact number of bones in the Albertadromeus skeleton is unknown. Base don discovered evidence, the fossil was found without a skull. The remains of these ornithopods consisted of a caudal vertebra, ossified tendons, incomplete right fibula, the tibia and fibula of the right side, cervical ribs, two dorsal vertebrae, and fragments of the ungual and metatarsal.
The method used by these dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous epoch to communicate among themselves is unknown.
The Albertadromeus syntarsus was around 5 ft (1.6 m) long, which is slightly more than half the length of the lyrebird. It is estimated to have a height of around 1.9 ft (0.6 m), almost the same height as a turkey.
Although the exact speed at which this ornithopod dinosaur could move is unknown, it is hypothesized to have been a fast runner. Evidence suggests that they could have used their running abilities to escape attacks from carnivorous dinosaurs.
These ornithopods are estimated to have weighed around 30 lb (16 kg) which is almost the same as young-adult albatross chicks!
The male and female did not have separate names, instead, they were known by the common name Albertadromeus syntarsus. This name consists of 'Alberta', because of its discovery in this region of Canada, and 'dromeus' which means 'runner.' The name 'syntarsus' is derived from the Greek word 'syn', which means 'together' and 'tarsus', meaning 'ankle'. This was because the leg bones of this dinosaur were fused at the distal fibula and tibia.
The baby of this species does not have a different name and can be called a juvenile.
These dinosaurs from Canada were herbivores and fed on a small plants, grasses, and other vegetation below one meter in height.
Considering these dinosaurs were among the lowest on the food chain, it is safe to say that they were not aggressive creatures. However, they could have fought among themselves during territorial disputes or the mating season.
The Zephyrosaurus and the Orodromeus are closely related to this genus.
Juvenile tyrannosaurs were known to feed on these dinosaurs before growing up and moving on to larger prey such as hadrosaurs.
One common factor between these two types of dinosaurs is that they were both plant-eaters and belonged to the Ornithopoda clade under the order of Ornithischia. Apart from that, this species has several differences. Firstly, the Albertadromeus is a member of the Parksosauridae family and not the Hadrosaurid family. In addition, they belonged to different dinosaur ecosystems and the hadrosaurs were massive, whereas the Albertadromeus were tiny.
The smallest plant-eating dinosaur is, in fact, the Albertadromeus.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Draconyx facts and Zigongosaurus facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Albertadromeus coloring pages.
Image one by Leandra Walters, Phil Senter, James H. Robins.
Image two by FunkMonk (Michael B. H.).
*We've been unable to source an image of Albertadromeus and have used an image of Thescelosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Albertadromeus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].