Fun Thecodontosaurus Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
Edited by Christina Harrison
Thecodontosaurus facts are an interesting way to keep your kids busy as well as educated.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

The Thecodontosaurus antiquus was a species of Sauropodomorph that defined the family Thecodontosauridae to which it belongs. The dinosaur fossil was discovered in a quarry at Durdham Down, in a place called Clifton which is presently in Bristol, England.

A surgeon, Henry Riley, and the curator of the Bristol Institution, Samuel Stutchbury, named it the Thecodontosaurus (derived from Greek and translates to 'socket-toothed lizards') due to the dinosaur skull not having an integrated tooth structure but each tooth was in a separate tooth socket.

In 1834, it was only the fifth dinosaur classified with the whole concept of Dinosauria being introduced in 1842. After the study, the holotype specimen and all other material were preserved until the Second World War when it was destroyed during German bombing raids in Bristol.

Few of the remains were salvaged and are stored at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

After the modern study, this dinosaur was correctly classified as one of the early Sauropodomorphs. They've been dated to the Rhaetian age of the late Triassic period which is earlier than most other dinosaurs. It was later discovered that they predated the Prosauropod-Sauropod division, making these dinosaurs some of the oldest dinosaurs to have been discovered.

If your kids are intrigued by dinosaurs, they will certainly like knowing about the Mercuriceratops and the Fukuiraptor.

Thecodontosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Thecodontosaurus'?

The Thecodontosaurus pronunciation is 'the-ko-don-to-sore-us'.

What type of dinosaur was a Thecodontosaurus?

Remains of the Thecodontosaurus antiquus suggest that it was a Sauropodomorpha from the family Thecodontosauridae. There is a lot of confusion in the community about this family of dinosaurs because they were one of the first ones discovered at a time when technology wasn't as advanced to study these creatures with complete scientific accuracy as can be done today.

Quite a few dinosaurs have been classified into this family without the complete understanding of the specifics that make up the group.

In which geological period did the Thecodontosaurus roam the Earth?

This dinosaur is one of the oldest discovered dinosaurs and hails from the Rhaetian age which is the latest or uppermost stage of the Triassic period.

When did the Thecodontosaurus become extinct?

Based on the discovered material, the extinction of these Triassic period Sauropodomorphs occurred in the late Triassic period which was around the Mesozoic age.

Where did a Thecodontosaurus live?

The Thecodontosaurus lived around Europe in the late Triassic period in what is now modern-day south England and Wales.

What was a Thecodontosaurus' habitat?

The Thecodontosaurus, like most Sauropods, preferred to live in open grass plains bordering forested areas to be able to source food material more easily since they had an omnivorous diet.

Who did a Thecodontosaurus live with?

Early dinosaurs did not have much by way of protection, and being herbivores did not provide the necessary aggression for protection in the wild and therefore, it is assumed that the Thecodontosaurus followed typical Sauropodomorph behavior and formed herds.

How long did a Thecodontosaurus live?

The lifespan of these is unknown based on the material available.

How did they reproduce?

The exact reproduction system of these dinosaurs has not been analyzed based on their remains.

Thecodontosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Thecodontosaurus look like?

The physical description based on remains of the Thecodontosaurus skeleton suggests that its hand, as well as feet, were made up of five digits. The Thecodontosaurus skull was quite large along with huge eyes, but it had an unusually small neck to support its head.

Remains of forelimbs suggest that these early Sauropodomorphs had an extended claw and were elongated and narrow in structure.

The specimen suggests that front legs were also much shorter, while the tail made up the length that measured more than the head, body, and neck combined. In addition, the specimen of these animals suggest that their jaw contained serrated, leaf-like teeth which ranged from small to medium in length.

Keep reading for more interesting facts about the Thecodontosaurus.
*We've been unable to source an image of a Thecodontosaurus and have used an image of an Asylosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Thecodontosaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did a Thecodontosaurus have?

Quite a few fossils were discovered in the middle of the 19th century and kept in a museum near Bristol but most of them were destroyed in the Second World War due to German bombing raids. Today around 184 fossil bones are in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

How did they communicate?

The communication pattern of these dinosaurs has not been found after analysis of their remains.

How big was a Thecodontosaurus?

The Thecodontosaurus was one of the smaller Sauropodomorphs, not growing more than 3.9 ft (1.2 m) in length, making it more or less as big as a great dane. Its height was estimated to be around 23.6 in (60 cm), which is three times that of the glossy ibis.

How fast could a Thecodontosaurus move?

This Sauropodomorph dinosaur was known to be quite fast and extremely agile, but the exact speed is not known.

How much did a Thecodontosaurus weigh?

The Thecodontosaurus was an exceptionally light species of dinosaur, weighing only 24.2 lb (11 kg), the same as the golden jackal.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species do not have separate names. Their species name is the Thecodontosaurus antiquus. Thecodontosaurus means 'socket-toothed lizard'. The genus name of these animals was coined by Stutchbury and Riley, whereas John Morris provided the specific name.

What would you call a baby Thecodontosaurus?

Young ones of these animals do not have a separate name and can be called juveniles.

What did they eat?

Based on fossils of this socket-toothed lizard species, their diet mainly consisted of plants, but they would also feast on eggs or smaller animals and lizards just like the diet preference of snakes.

How aggressive were they?

Considering these were predatory dinosaur species, they would have displayed a lot of aggression when hunting for prey. It is also possible that they would get into fights over territorial disputes or when finding a mate.

Did you know...

At one point, due to an error, the Thecodontosaurus was known as a separate genus called Agrosaurus macgillivrayi.

Is the Thecodontosaurus a bipedal dinosaur?

Yes, the description of remains of this dinosaur suggests that it was bipedal.

When was the Thecodontosaurus discovered?

The first remains of this dinosaur were discovered in 1834 by Henry Riley and Samuel Stutchbury at the magnesium conglomerate of Clifton, which is now part of Bristol, south England. They named it the Thecodontosaurus because its teeth were not fused into the jaw and were instead placed into separate sockets.

Considering the first mention of Dinosauria was in 1842, these were among the first dinosaur remains to be discovered. Later, in 1843, John Morris coined the specific name of these dinosaurs.

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 Fukuisaurus facts and Hippodraco facts for kids.

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


Image one by ArthurWeasley.

Image two by Nobu Tamura (

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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