Fun Dysalotosaurus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 31, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 18, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Dysalotosaurus facts are fascinating.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

Are you interested in dinosaurs of all ages? Then here we have all the information on the Dysalotosaurus which was a species of primitive iguanodontian. They belong to the order Ornithischia and the family Dryosauridae. Their scientific name, Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki literally means 'uncatchable lizard'. All of their fossils were found in late Kimmeridgian-age stones or rocks in Tanzania. These Kimmeridgian-age rocks have given enough evidence for scientists to figure out that all the fossils were from one single herd of Dysalotosaurus. However, not much content is available on the Dysalotosaurus. According to the limited data discovered from the research on their fossils, they were precocial, which means their growth was already advanced when they hatched out of eggs. They were herbivorous, but according to three slimmer upper teeth found on the fossil of juveniles, it's assumed that they were omnivores in their younger days.

Read on to know more about the Dysalotosaurus and if you like this article, then also check out facts about Abydosaurus and Argyrosaurus.

Dysalotosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Dysalotosaurus'?

The phonetic pronunciation of the 'Dysalotosaurus' is 'dee-salot-o-saur-us'.

What type of dinosaur was a Dysalotosaurus?

Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki, Dysalotosaurus is a species of primitive iguanodontian that belongs to the family Dryosauridae and order Ornithischia.

In which geological period did Dysalotosaurus roam the earth?

The exact era when Dysalotosaurus roamed around the earth is not known. However, the Dryosaurids family roamed the earth during the early Cretaceous period and mid-Jurassic period.

When did the Dysalotosaurus become extinct?

Due to a lack of data, the exact time at which the Dysalotosaurus became extinct is not known. However, the incident that marked the end of the Cretaceous period and the Mesozoic era that this iguanodontian lived in was a mass extinction of many dinosaurs about 66 million years ago. The extinction of these dinosaurs may be related to that event, but the Cretaceous period was the longest period among all three periods of the Mesozoic era as it lasted from around 66-145 million years ago. Now, according to vigorous research, it has been observed that a single species of dinosaur roamed the earth for about 10 million years on average. Hence, Dysalotosaurus probably lived about 130-135 million years ago.

Where did Dysalotosaurus live?

The only fossils of the Dysalotosaurus that have been found till date were from a locality within the location of Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania. Their fossils were found in late Kimmeridgian-age stones or rocks which fall under the late Jurassic period. According to the findings of these Kimmeridgian-age rocks, it has been assumed that there was probably only one single herd living only in Tanzania.

What was the Dysalotosaurus' habitat?

During the late Jurassic period and the early Cretaceous period, the climate of the earth was warm and humid. The time Dysalotosaurus roamed the earth, the Pangea was broken up into Gondwana to the south and Laurasia to the North. The Dysalotosaurus lived at Gondwana in present-day Africa and the climate there was hot and wet and the habitat was starting to become full of greens, which worked quite well for the Dysalotosaurus.

Who did Dysalotosaurus live with?

The way to figure out whether Dysalotosaurus lived alone or in a herd is very hard. However, the only fossils that have been discovered were from one single locality in Tanzania and there were fossils of more than one Dysalotosaurus. Hence, it's assumed that the Dysalotosaurus lived in a herd.

How long did a Dysalotosaurus live?

The exact lifespan of the Dysalotosaurus is not known owing to a lack of data. However, the fossils of these dinosaurs that have been found were all of the different ages. This helped scientists figure out quite a bit about their growth or development. Their maximum growth rate was similar to a large kangaroo and they matured sexually at the age of about 10 years. This dictates that they probably didn't have a very long lifespan, unlike large sauropods that are assumed to have had a lifespan of about 300 years.

How did they reproduce?

The Dysalotosaurus reached sexual maturity when they were about ten years old. They lived about 145-150 years ago and with so very limited information gathered from the fossil of this iguanodontian, not much is known about their reproduction due to a lack of data. The only thing we know is that these dinosaurs were oviparous in nature. Oviparous animals, like present-day reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish, these dinosaurs also gave birth to juveniles by laying eggs.

Dysalotosaurus Fun Facts

What did Dysalotosaurus look like?

Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki, Dysalotosaurus were relatively small ornithopods. They had a long body and were more adapted to bipedal movement. This means that they had long hind legs, short forelimbs, and a long balancing tail that helped them move on their two back legs. They had three toes on each foot of these legs. A juvenile had a shorter snout, 20 teeth, and three of its upper teeth were a little slimmer which indicates that the juveniles were omnivores when they were young. The adults had 26 teeth. They had soft tissues above their eyes. When they were not feeding, they held their head facing forward, dorsally.

Maximum growth of a Dysalotosaurus was the same as a large kangaroo.

How many bones did a Dysalotosaurus have?

The only fossils that were found from the excavated fossils of these dinosaurs were in parts. The most complete one was a 50% skull of a Dysalotosaurus. They found around 14000 Dysalotosaurus bones in total, but all in fragments, so it's quite impossible to know how many bones they had.

How did they communicate?

It's assumed that the Dysalotosaurus probably communicated vocally, visually, and by sound. However, from the fossil of these ornithopods, scientists have been able to reconstruct their brain and inner ear in their different ages. This suggests that unlike most herbivorous species of dinosaurs, they were not able to differentiate between high-frequency and low-frequency sounds. This probably means that they had other additional sensory abilities that their body adapted in order to balance out this inability.

How big were the Dysalotosaurus?

Dysalotosaurus size was about 8.2 ft (2.5 m) in length. Compared to an Argentinosaurus, the largest herbivorous dinosaur, Dysalotosaurus were at least more than 12 times shorter. Argentinosaurus were about 120 ft (35.6 m) in length.

How fast could a Dysalotosaurus move?

The exact speed at which Dysalotosaurus could run is not known. However, in general, bipedal and medium-sized dinosaurs like them could walk at a speed of about 2.5-3.7 mph (4-6 kph) and could run at a speed of about 23-54.7 mph (37-88 kph).

How much did a Dysalotosaurus weigh?

A Dysalotosaurus weighed about 176.4 lb (80 kg) on average.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Males and females had no specific names.

What would you call a baby Dysalotosaurus?

A baby Dysalotosaurus was called a hatchling, nestling, or juvenile.

What did they eat?

According to the teeth structure reconstructed by the Dysalotosaurus, they were omnivorous when they were juveniles and they probably ate insects and small mammals along with plant matter. However, as they grew and started adapting to their surroundings, they became pure herbivores.

How aggressive were they?

Due to a lack of data, it's not known whether the Dysalotosaurus was aggressive or not.

Did you know...

They were precocial in nature, which means that their growth or development was already at an advanced stage when they hatched out of their eggs. They could take care of themselves from an early age owing to such growth.

Studying their fossils has led to the discovery of the oldest viral infection known to anyone. Paleontologists discovered from the Dysalotosaurus fossil that some of them had deformed bones that were probably caused by a viral infection which is very similar to the Paget's disease of bone. This became the oldest evidence of any viral infection known to men.

Why are they called Dysalotosaurus?

It's not known why they are called Dysalotosaurus. However, the latter part of their scientific name, 'lettowvorbecki' was given in honor of the German hero of the WWI in history, General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. He led an army of 14000 Africans and 3000 Germans and even in that time in history, never discriminated against any black soldier.

How many specimens of Dysalotosaurus were discovered?

Most fossils of the Dysalotosaurus were destroyed in the WWII bombings. Still, around 14000 Dysalotosaurus bones and their parts were found in a quarry between 1910-1913 at the Tendaguru Formation in Tanzania. It's assumed that all of them are from a single herd of Dysalotosaurus at different ages. The largest specimen found was about 16.4 ft (5 m) long and the smallest was about 2.3 ft (0.7 m) long.

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 Coelurus facts, or Aublysodon fun facts for kids.

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

Dysalotosaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insects and small mammals

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

176.4 lb (80 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

8.2 ft (2.5 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Hot and humid climate

Where Did They Live?

South Africa
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Written by Moumita Dutta

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

Moumita Dutta picture

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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