Fun Anchisaurus Facts For Kids

Gurpuneet Kaur
Oct 20, 2022 By Gurpuneet Kaur
Originally Published on Sep 28, 2021
Edited by Christina Harrison
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Here are some amazing Anchisaurus facts reflecting upon these dinosaurs from the early Jurassic period.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

Among genera belonging to the clade Dinosauria is the genus Anchisaurus. The pronunciation of the generic name is 'Ank-ee-sore-us', while it means 'near lizard'.

It is a bipedal plant-eater with multipurpose front two legs. The type species documented under the genus is Anchisaurus polyzelus.

It has several synonyms for its binomial name like Megadactylus polyzelus, Amphisaurus polyzelus, Anchisaurus major, Ammosaurus major, Anchisaurus colurus, Yaleosaurus colurus, and Anchisaurus solus.

Formerly given the generic name Megadactylus, meaning 'giant finger', in 1865 by American geologist Edward Hitchcock, it was renamed to the Anchisaurus when an English paleontologist documented a new genus under the same name, Megadactylus. Although the discovery of the dinosaur dates back to 1865, it was speculated to live during the early Jurassic period.

If the uniqueness of the Anchisaurus makes you interested in reading more about similar species, you can read about the Caudipteryx and the Tanius.

Anchisaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Anchisaurus'?

The Anchisaurus pronunciation is 'Ank-ee-sore-us'. The generic name assigned by an American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh means 'near lizard'. It is considered to have been a bipedal plant-eater. This genus of dinosaurs was formerly named the Megadactylus but now has several synonyms including the Ammosaurus, the Amphisaurus, and the Yaleosaurus.

What type of dinosaur was an Anchisaurus?

The classification of the genus Anchisaurus falls under Prosauropods. Prosauropods represent the preceding stage of giant sauropods with the dinosaur flourishing between the late Triassic period and the early Jurassic period.

In which geological period did the Anchisaurus roam the Earth?

The discovery of the Anchisaurus dating back to the 1850s revealed that these dinosaurs lived during the late Jurassic period, 200-195 million years ago.

When did the Anchisaurus become extinct?

These primitive sauropods or long-necked dinosaurs living during the late Jurassic period were believed to have faced extinction 200-195 million years ago.

Where did an Anchisaurus live?

The discovery of remains of the fossil of the Anchisaurus from the red sandstone of the Portland formation in the northeastern United States highlighted that these dinosaurs lived in North America.

What was an Anchisaurus' habitat?

The natural habitat of the species of Anchisaurus had a wide range. While these dinosaurs primarily lived in woodlands, they were also found in grasslands, deserts, and areas with plentiful vegetation.

Who did an Anchisaurus live with?

Paleontologists speculated that primitive dinosaurs mostly lived in a group of animals. These plant-eating dinosaurs often moved on their four legs and were thought to rise upon their hind legs.

This dinosaur had ferocious claws on its front leg. The dinosaur from the Connecticut Valley was known to have a friendly temperament and did not harm its group members. It used claws to rip open logs or fight off its predators.

How long did an Anchisaurus live?

It is known that a dinosaur, in general, lived for about 70-80 years but the average lifespan of the Anchisaurus is not known.

How did they reproduce?

The dinosaur was an oviparous animal, an animal that laid eggs. Females had medullary bones rich in calcium which helped in making eggshells. Specimens of medullary bones in fossil remains come in handy to paleontologists for the classification of the sex of the animal.

Anchisaurus Fun Facts

What did an Anchisaurus look like?

The specimen of bones of the Sauropodomorph dinosaur was first uncovered in 1818 in what is now North America. Bones were mistaken to be those of a human, but tail vertebrae revealed otherwise.

The dinosaur was reportedly smaller than a human, but specimens of a skeleton collected by Marsh were larger, so it is believed that these dinosaurs could attain greater sizes. The Anchisaurus, meaning 'near lizard,' had a similar appearance to a lizard but the dinosaur was thought to be multiple times larger than a lizard.

It is the skeleton of the Anchisaurus living between Hettangian and Sinemurian ages.
*We've been unable to source an image of an Anchisaurus and have used an image of a Saltasaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of an Anchisaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did an Anchisaurus have?

Although the complete skeleton of the dinosaur is displayed and preserved in the Yale Peabody Museum and the type specimen is found in the Amherst College Museum of Natural History, the estimated number of bones is yet not calculated.

How did they communicate?

The communication mechanism of the dinosaur has not been studied.

How big was an Anchisaurus?

While the Anchisaurus size is smaller than a human, the length of the dinosaur varied between 6.5-13 ft (2-4 m) and the height of the dinosaur ranged between 7.7-8 ft (2.3-2.4 m).

How fast could an Anchisaurus move?

The fastest dinosaur was recorded to move at a speed of about 27 mph (43.5 kph), while medium-sized Theropods were one of the fastest dinosaurs. On the other hand, this bipedal dinosaur had a considerable speed considering its size and weight.

How much did an Anchisaurus weigh?

The dinosaur from the Connecticut Valley weighed about 55-59.5 lb (25-27 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male dinosaur and female dinosaur do not have specific names specifying their sex.

What would you call a baby Anchisaurus?

A baby dinosaur is also called a chick or hatchling but does not have any specific binomial name.

What did they eat?

The basal sauropodomorph was considered an omnivore due to the shape and arrangement of its teeth.

Similarly, the Anchisaurus was also believed to have consumed meat, but its teeth were blunt. Nova Scotia specimens provide a description of the diet of the dinosaur because a large number of gastroliths to grind up plant material were found, indicating it to be an omnivore species with the occasional supplement of meat.

While it is known as having been a plant-eater primarily since the teeth and jaw hinge were not suited for tearing meat, the diet of the dinosaur is still a conundrum.

How aggressive were they?

The 'near lizard' dinosaur was thought to have had a friendly temperament, but it fought off its predators with its ferocious claws.

Did you know...

Othniel Charles Marsh named the dinosaur the Megadactylus in 1877 and renamed it the Anchisaurus in 1882. It is also referred to as the Ammosaurus and the Yaleosaurus.

The history of the dinosaur dates back to 1818. It is housed in various museums like the Amherst College Museum of Natural History, and the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.

Where was the Anchisaurus discovered?

Remains of the Anchisaurus were first uncovered in 1818 in Connecticut. The original type specimen is preserved in the Amherst College Museum of Natural History. A complete skeleton of the dinosaur was also found in Connecticut. Fossils of Prosauropods were also discovered in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

Dilophosaurus vs. Anchisaurus

A Dilophosaurus is a predatory dinosaur from the clade Theropoda, while the Anchisaurus is a Prosauropod. A Dilophosaurus is the largest land animal weighing about 16 times more than the Anchisaurus.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Sinraptor facts and Bruhathkayosaurus facts for kids.

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


Main image: Nobu Tamura (

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Written by Gurpuneet Kaur

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gurpuneet Kaur picture

Gurpuneet KaurBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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