Fun Othnielosaurus Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Othnielosaurus Facts For Kids

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Othnielosaurus, also known as the Othniel's lizard or Laosaurus consors, is a genus of ornithischian dinosaurs that lived during the Late Jurassic period about 155-148 million years ago in the Morrison Formation of the western United States. The dinosaur was originally assigned to the genus Laosaurus but was then named Othnielosaurus in honor of the paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. The dinosaur was formerly included in Othnielia and was hence assigned the genus Laosaurus to hold its fossils in the said group. Still, it was only after decades of research that was put in to understand the taxon left behind as a result of the infamous Bone Wars that took place between Marsh and his rival Edward Drinker Cope. Othnielosaurus are small bipedal dinosaurs that are believed to be herbivores, which is the generalized description for hypsilophodonts, and hence Othnielosaurus were also usually classified in the same. However, with recent research, the classification of these dinosaurs as the hypsilophodonts has again been questioned.

For more relatable content, check out these Draconyx facts and Xenotarsosaurus facts for kids.

Fun Othnielosaurus Facts For Kids

What did they prey on?

Plants and vegetation

What did they eat?


Average litter size?


How much did they weigh?

22 lb (10 kg)

How long were they?

3.9-6.6 ft (1.2-2 m)

How tall were they?

1.6 ft (50 cm)

What did they look like?

Small bipedal dinosaurs

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Bigger dinosaurs

Where were they found?

Terrestrial habitat


North America









Scientific Name

Nanosaurus agilis, Othnielosaurus consors

How scary were they?


How loud were they?


How intelligent were they?


Othnielosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Othnielosaurus'?

The name of this dinosaur, Othnielosaurus, is pronounced as 'oth-ne-al-o-sore-us.'

What type of dinosaur was an Othnielosaurus?

Othnielosaurs, also known as Othniel's lizard, was a hypsilophodont Ornithopoda dinosaur who lived in North America during the Late Jurassic period.

In which geological period did the Othnielosaurus roam the Earth?

The remains of the family of this Hypsilophodont Ornithopoda Othnielosaurus are estimated to be living in the world during the Late Jurassic period, approximately 145 million years ago.

When did Othnielosaurus become extinct?

According to the remains of the fossils, it has been approximated that this Hypsilodont dinosaur must have gone extinct around 145 million years ago, around the Late Jurassic period.

Where did Othnielosaurus live?

According to the Othnielosaurus consors fossils, it has been concluded that the species must have lived in what is present-day North America, Morrison Formation. The fossils have been specially found in places including Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

What was the Othnielosaurus' habitat?

Othnielosauruses are believed to have lived in terrestrial habitats of the redwood forests of the Morrison Formation. According to many studies done on dinosaur species, it has been found that most dinosaurs preferred living alongside ancient rivers and streams. They would roam in forested floodplains and densely vegetated swamps and lakes. On the other hand, it has been found that the Morrison Formation had a semiarid environment with distinctive wet and dry seasons and also flat floodplains. The vegetation on the Morrison formation ranged from river lining gallery forests of conifers, tree ferns, and ferns. The Morrison formation has been known as a rich fossil hunting ground, which still holds fossils of many different species, including fossils of green algae, fungi, horsetails, mosses, ferns, cycads, ginkgoes, and conifers.

Who did Othnielosaurus live with?

Othnielosauruses, from the Morrison Formation, are believed to have lived with other species like bivalves, snails, ray-finned fishes, frogs, salamanders, sphenodonts, lizards, turtles, terrestrial and aquatic crocodylomorphs, numerous species of dinosaur species and pterosaur, and early mammals like docodonts, multituberculates, symmetrodonts, and triconodonts. Fossils of all these other early species were discovered from the same habitat as the Othnielosaurus.

How long did Othnielosaurus live?

The Othnielosaurus dinosaurs are believed to have lived from the Upper Jurassic Epoch to 145 million years ago.

How did they reproduce?

Like all other dinosaurs, the reproduction of this dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period is believed to be oviparous. This means that they are believed to reproduce by laying eggs. It is also estimated that these species probably even used to take care of their young, like what birds in today's time do.

Othnielosaurus Fun Facts

What did Othnielosaurus look like?

Othnielosaurus has been named after the famous paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh.

Othnielosaurus (Laosaurus consors) were small animals with not much height or weight. L. consors was a bipedal dinosaur that had shorter forelimbs and long hindlimbs with large processes for muscle attachments. These ornithischian dinosaurs, L. consors, also had broad and short hands with small fingers. The cheek teeth of ornithischian were shaped like a leaf to make it easier for them to slice through softer plants. It is also believed that the teeth were probably present on the sides of the youth to help prevent the plant material from spilling from the sides of their mouth. Their small leaf-shaped teeth were also triangular with small ridges and denticles that lined the front and back edges. They had premaxillary teeth as well with less ornamentation. From the skull of its specimen 'Barbara' and another partial type skull, it is clear that they had a small head. The Othnielosaurus also had thin plates lying along the ribs, which are called intercostal plates. These plates were cartilaginous in origin. These intercostal plates are common in several hypsilophodonts or iguanodont-grade ornithopods like Hypsilophodont, Thescelosaurus, and Talenkauen.

How many bones did an Othnielosaurus have?

The exact number of bones this species of dinosaur had is unknown.

How did they communicate?

It is unknown how exactly the Othinelosaurus communicated with each other or other species of dinosaurs. But in the review of pre-historic animal sounds, Philip J. Senter, an American paleontologist and a professor of Zoology at Fayetteville State University, very popularly known for his research focusing on dinosaur paleobiology, believed that the dinosaurs used to communicate by hissing, clapping their jaws together, grinding their mandibles against their upper jaws, rubbing scales together and by the use of environmental materials like splashing against water. It is also believed that the dinosaurs communicated vocally and visually. These two modes of communication would have been most used during defensive posturing, courtship behavior, and territory fights. According to the same assumption, it is believed that the head crests of some species like Corythosaurus and Parasaurolophus were used to amplify grunts or bellows.

How big was Othnielosaurus?

According to the estimated measurements for the Othnielosaurus size, it should be a little shorter as compared to a human male. However, to give a better idea, the measurements are calculated at around 3.9-6.6 ft (1.2-2 m) in length, and their height should be around 1.6 ft (50 cm).

How fast could an Othnielosaurus move?

The Othnielosaurus are bipedal dinosaurs that can walk and run with two legs. The speed would have come really handy for them while escaping their predator animals.

How much did an Othnielosaurus weigh?

The Othnielosaurus' weight, based on the fossils collected, is estimated to have been around 22 lb (10 kg) or less.

What were the male and female names of the species?

These female and male dinosaurs are not given any sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby Othnielosaurus?

Since the Othnielosaurus, or Nanosaurus, reproduced by laying eggs and the new ones are born when the eggs hatch, the baby Nanosaurus can be called hatchling or nestling. This generalized term can be used for all the dinosaurs since they were all hatched from eggs.

What did they eat?

The Othnielosaurus were herbivorous dinosaurs. They mostly relied on plant material and vegetation for food and followed a strict herbivore diet. However, some paleontologists like Bakker (1986) argue that Othnielosaurus might have been omnivores and have also relied on insects and small reptiles for food. However, the vegetation on the Morrison Formation varied from river lining gallery forests of several conifers, tree ferns, and ferns.

How aggressive were they?

It is not known if Othnielosaurus was aggressive or not. However, given their herbivore diet, it might be safe to assume that they were not exactly aggressive animals.

Did you know...

To date, eight different specimens for Nanosaurus have been collected by paleontologists. Othnielosaurus features in 'Jurassic Park III: Park Builder', which is a construction and management simulation game for the Game Boy Advance. It features under its old name Othnielia.

Why are they called Othnielosaurus?

Othnielosaurus was initially known under the name Laosaurus, Nanosaurus, and Othnielia. It was later in 1878 when the dinosaur was given its now known name, Othnielosaurus, in honor of a famous paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. The dinosaur thus is also described as Othniel's lizard.

Who discovered the Othnielosaurus?

The Othnielosaurus was discovered by the famous American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. Marsh was an American professor of Paleontology at Yale College and president of the National Academy of Sciences and was one of the preeminent scientists in the field of paleontology. He is also known for the discovery and description of dozens of new species and also for the infamous Bone Wars against their rival, Edward Drinker Cope.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Hypsilophodont facts and Lagerpeton facts pages.

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

Main image by Nobu Tamura.

Second image by Jens Lallensack.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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