Fun Alxasaurus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 30, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 18, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Alxasaurus facts are great for kids.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.8 Min

Are you interested to learn about different types of dinosaurs? If yes, then follow along, as today we are going to discuss the Alxasaurus.

This is a bipedal dinosaur belonging to the eponymous genus that lived around 100-113 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period in Inner Mongolia.

The remains of this dinosaur include a lot of bones and the lower jaw was found in the Nei Mongol Zizhiqu region. This species is named after its discovery in the Alashan or Alxa desert, and the meaning of its name comes down to the Alxa desert lizard.

The special thing about this dinosaur had to be its similar features that matched with the therizinosauroidea dinosaurs that lived at a later stage. These traits included the long neck, short tail, and large claws of this dinosaur.

Scientists believe that this dinosaur from the Alashan desert sustained itself on plant materials. Even though the fossil remains were first found in 1988, the species was first described in 1993, by Dale Russell and Dong Zhiming. Keep reading to know more interesting Alxasaurus facts.

Also, check out our articles on Xenotarsosaurus and Chilantaisaurus to know how dinosaurs actually lived.

Alxasaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Alxasaurus'?

The name of the dinosaur is pronounced as 'Alx-ah-saw-rus' and it means the lizard from the Alashan or Alxa desert.

What type of dinosaur was an Alxasaurus?

The Alxasaurus is known to be a therizinosauroid theropod dinosaur hailing from Inner Mongolia. The species is referred to as the earliest known Therizinosauroidea dinosaurs.

These therizinosaurs are defined as having small to giant-sized bodies with the distinctive trait of being herbivorous. Moreover, the various skeletal features of these dinosaurs connect them to the birds that we see right now.

Rather than being placed under a distinct family, the Alxasaurus dinosaur along with some other variants like the Beipiaosaurus, Enigmosaurus, Martharaptor, Suzhousaurus, and Therizinosaurida fall under the superfamily of Therizinosauroidea. The Alxasaurus elesitaiensis is also the only single known species in the genus of Alxasaurus.

In which geological period did Alxasaurus roam the earth?

The Alxasaurus roamed the earth in the Early Cretaceous period which was about 100-113 million years ago. By studying the fossil specimens, scientists have come to the conclusion, that this dinosaur belonged to the Albian stage, which is the youngest stage of the Early Cretaceous period.

When did the Alxasaurus become extinct?

As we find fossil specimens dating back to the Early Cretaceous period, it can be assumed that it lived around 100-113 million years ago and then the species went extinct.

Where did Alxasaurus live?

The Alxasaurus was found in the Nei Mongol Zizhiqu region of Inner Mongolia which is currently situated in the People's Republic of China. This species is even named after the Alxa Desert present in the region.

And, the scientific name elesitaiensis comes from the nearby village Elesitai, which was situated in a region near where the fossil remains of this dinosaur were found. The living area of this species is said to be under the Bayin-Gobi Formation.

What was the Alxasaurus' habitat?

We don't know much about the preferred habitat of these species. However, as it's assumed that these dinosaurs liked to eat plant materials, they would have very well lived in areas where food was widely available. This is regarded as a terrestrial dinosaur.

Who did Alxasaurus live with?

As we have only been able to find fossil specimens of dinosaurs, it's quite hard to say if any one of the species had social bonds. But, some studies do point out that dinosaurs may have been able to share strong social bonds.

So, we don't really know about who the Alxasaurus lived with, but it may have shared its space with other dinosaurs that lived during that era.

How long did an Alxasaurus live?

The Alxasaurus walked on the earth around 100-113 million years ago. Even though we have fossil specimens, scientists are still unable to find the lifespan of a species.

The hotly debated topic includes opinions where a group like sauropods have been attributed to living for over 300 years. But, more realistic research from different dinosaur specimens suggests a shorter lifespan of 70-80 years, but it would have greatly varied based on the species.

How did they reproduce?

A common fact that you should know is that dinosaurs reproduced by laying eggs, and that is true even for the Alxasaurus. We are yet to know a lot about how these animals mated or even took care of the offspring.

But, eggs of another therizinosaur, the dendroolithidae were found in a great condition, and the specimens helped scientists to understand that the babies were born fairly matured and probably had the ability to walk right after birth.

The fetus even had grown teeth, one of the features that helped it to have an omnivorous diet.

Even the parents may not have had a role in incubating the eggs. Moreover, as fresh nest sites are being unearthed, some species of therizinosaurs such as hadrosaurs, titanosaurs and prosauropods are being said to have the tendency of colonial nesting.

Alxasaurus Fun Facts

What did Alxasaurus look like?

The Alxasaurus is said to be an early species of the Therizinosaur that was a large theropod found in the Late Cretaceous period. This dinosaur had the common features of a long neck, short tail, short skull and large claws.

Even though we don't how the dinosaurs might have actually looked, scientists do believe that it had feather-like structures on its tail and other parts of the body. It might have looked like earlier species of prosauropods.

Alxasaurus facts help to learn about a new dinosaur.
*We've been unable to source an image of Alxasaurus and have used an image of a Edmontonia dinosaur instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Alxasaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did an Alxasaurus have?

We don't know about the exact number of bones that may have been present in the body of an Alxasaurus. Having said that, the five Alxasaurus specimens found in a region near the Alashan or Alxa desert give us an insight into the bone structure of the animal.

How did they communicate?

One of the most interesting but least known things about dinosaurs is communication. Scientists believe that rather than having vocal cords, these animals had bird-like air sacs that would help to make noises or sounds. Moreover, visual or physical communication would have also been prevalent among dinosaurs, especially during the mating season.

How big was the Alxasaurus?

The average Alxasaurus size is said to have been around 13 ft (4 m). So, it wasn't really a huge species. Compared to it, the Therizinosaur is said to have an average size of 30-33 ft (9-10 ft) making it extremely large.

How fast could an Alxasaurus move?

We don't really know about the speed at which the Alxasaurus moved. But, as a bipedal species, this dinosaur may have had a running speed of anywhere between 22-54 mph (35.4-86.9 kph). The ability hugely depended on the weight of a dinosaur, and some only managed to move at an average speed of around 2.4-3.7 mph (3.8-6 kph).

How much did an Alxasaurus weigh?

We are lucky to know that the average weight of the Alxasaurus was around 850 lb (385.5 kg). This dinosaur is also said to carry a lot of weight on the lower half of the body, which gave it a pot-bellied appearance.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There aren't any specific names for males and females of this species.

What would you call a baby Alxasaurus?

Just like the babies of birds or most lizards, a baby Alxasaurus would have been known as a hatchling.

What did they eat?

Now, the diet of an Alxasaurus is one of the most debated topics in scientific communication. When we look at therizinosaur as a group, most dinosaurs are carnivorous and meat-eating in nature.

Hence, it would be safe to assume that the Alxasaurus would follow a similar pattern.

However, after looking closely at the features of the single known species of Alxasaurus elesitaiensis, most scientists think that it would have probably been plant-eating or herbivorous in nature. While others like to place it in an omnivorous category and they believe that the dinosaur consumed plant materials as well as bugs.

How aggressive were they?

We don't really know how aggressive this single known species may have been. But, it did possess the features to do the needful if there was a predator nearby.

Did you know...

Among the five Alxasaurus specimens that have been unearthed, the specimen with the holotype IVPP 88402 is the most complete and it has helped scientists to confirm the genus and group of this species. Along with the lower jaw, this specimen also contained bones like sacral vertebrae, ribs, chevrons, and even an almost complete manus.

Scientists have also been able to find teeth in the lower jaw.

We have also managed to gather the first of nineteen tail vertebrae present in the shortened tail of this dinosaur species.

The other four among the five Alxasaurus specimens have the holotypes of IVPP 88301, IVPP 88402, IVPP 88501, and IVPP 88510. These bones have helped to group together the hypodigm of this species that lived about 100 million years ago in the Nei Mongol Zizhiqu region of Inner Mongolia.

The Alxasaurus is considered to be one of the most complete therizinosaurs found to date mainly because of how the scientists were able to piece together the different skeletal remains. When the fossils were first discovered in the Alashan desert, some believed this dinosaur from an Early Cretaceous period to be a turtle-like creature.

Even though Dale Russell and Dong Zhiming managed to identify the dinosaurs in 1993, the actual paper came out in early 1994 with the last issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences for the year 1993.

Currently, in the classification, the Alxasaurus has placed somewhere in the middle of earlier species like Beipiaosaurus and later theropod species like Erlikosaurus, and Therizinosaurus.

Why are they called Alxasaurus?

There are various reasons for the dinosaur being named Alxasaurus. First, the species, as well as the genus, has been named after the Alxa desert or the Alashan desert, a place where the specimens of this dinosaur were found.

On the other hand, the suffix sauros stands for the word lizard in Greek.

So, its name literally translates to the Alxa desert lizard. When it comes to the scientific name, the Alxasaurus elesitaiensis, the word elestaiensis denoted the village of Elesitai, which was situated in the region near where the fossils were found.

Would Alxasaurus bite?

The Alxasaurus had 40 teeth in its mouth, and it might have bitten someone in a state of agitation. But, this species is mostly known for the big sharp claws that helped it to fight against predators. So, when in fear, it would have most likely attacked someone with sharp claws.

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 Rahonavis facts, or Becklespinax facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable family of four dinosaurs coloring pages.

Main image by Conty.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

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Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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