Fun Pisanosaurus Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
Nov 29, 2022 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Sep 29, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Discover thrilling Pisanosaurus facts about its fossil remains, diet, bones, species, and more!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

Pisanosaurus (Pisano's lizard) is an extinct type genus of the family Pisanosauridae that was established by R.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Casamiquela. It belongs to the clade Dracohors, family Pisanosauridae and the superorder Dinosauria. This genus was named and described in 1967 by Rodolfo Casamiquela, a renowned Argentine paleontologist. Only one type species, Pisanosaurus mertii, is known of this genus that has been placed in the order Ornithischia (meaning bird-hipped), a group of dinosaurs that existed throughout the Mesozoic Era. Pisanosaurus is the oldest recognized ornithischian. The fossil remains of this Late Triassic dinosaur, Pisanosaurus mertii, were discovered in the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin's Ischigualasto Formation in northern Argentina and consisted of a partial skull and postcranial skeletal fossils. This dinosaur is believed to have existed in the Carnian of the Late Triassic period. The Pisanosaurus comprises primitive ornithischian dinosaurs that are assumed to have existed 228-216.5 million years ago. Pisanosaurus mertii was a small-sized, lightly-built dinosaur that was a herbivore. This Late Triassic dinosaur is estimated to have attained a length of 3.3 ft (1 m) and weighed in the range of 5–20 lb (2.2–9 kg). It was a ground-dwelling dinosaur that was actively mobile. It is known to have reproduced through eggs. Want to know more about this Triassic period dino? Keep reading to discover more interesting Pisanosaurus facts about its fossil remains, pronunciation, habitat, and more!

If you enjoyed reading our fun Pisanosaurus facts, you must check out our dino-mite Pukyongosaurus facts for kids and Struthiomimus interesting facts!

Pisanosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Pisanosaurus '?

Pisanosaurus ‭(‬Pisano’s lizard‭) was named by R.M‬. Casamiquela in 1967 and can be pronounced as 'pie-san-o-sore-us'.

What type of dinosaur was a Pisanosaurus?

Pisanosaurus is an extinct genus comprising primitive ornithischian dinosaurs that consists of only one species, Pisanosaurus mertii. Pisanosaurus was named and described in 1967 by Rodolfo M. Casamiquela, a renowned paleontologist of Argentina. It belongs to the family Pisanosauridae and the superorder Dinosauria. It also belongs to the order Ornithischia (meaning bird-hipped) that consists of a group of dinosaurs that existed throughout the Mesozoic Era. Pisanosaurus exact classification remains a subject for scientists to debate for more than 40 years. It was only in 2017 when a general agreement was made that it is the oldest recognized ornithischian

In which geological period did the Pisanosaurus roam the earth?

Pisanosaurus existed about 228-216 million years ago during the Late Triassic Period in present-day South America.

When did the Pisanosaurus become extinct?

These Triassic period dinosaurs are assumed to have become extinct 216 million years ago. It is the oldest recognized ornithischian.

Where did a Pisanosaurus live?

Pisanosaurus is a genus of primitive dinosauriform that existed in present-day Argentina, South America. Its fossils were excavated from the Ischigualasto Formation in the Agua de las Catas locality in La Rioja, Argentina. Only one species, Pisanosaurus mertii, is known from a partial skeleton discovered. The fossil remains indicate that it was common throughout the Mesozoic era. As its fossils have not been anywhere else except South America, it is believed to be endemic to Argentina.

What was a Pisanosaurus's habitat?

Pisanosaurus mertii was a ground-dwelling herbivore that was actively mobile. Its environment consisted of a large floodplain through which a series of rivers channels and dense conifer forest. There was also a plethora of plant material available, such as ferns and horsetails. The area this dinosaur inhabited did experience occasional rainfall also.

Who did a Pisanosaurus live with?

It has been determined by researchers that this herbivore existed 228 million years ago, which is about the same time the Saurischians appeared. It has been noted that this dinosaur was close to Archosaurs, Rauisuchians, Therapsids, and Saurosuchus. It also co-existed with the Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus. It is assumed that it wasn't exactly social, but it is believed that it may have looked for food in large herds. It is hypothesized that forming herds while foraging may have helped in the event of danger. The rivers of its environment were also frequented by Pseudochampsa and Proterochamps, which were crocodile-like animals related to dinosaurs and crocodiles.

How long did a Pisanosaurus live?

The lifespan of these late Triassic period dinosaurs has not yet been evaluated by paleontologists.

How did they reproduce?

It is known to have reproduced through eggs. It is assumed that as it was an early dinosaur, Pisanosaurus mertii, it might have cared for its juveniles.

Pisanosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Pisanosaurus look like?

The Pisanosaurus was a small-sized dinosaur that is assumed to have possessed feathers!

Pisanosaurus mertii is known only from a partial skeleton fossil. This skeleton was discovered in northwestern Argentina in the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin's Ischigualasto Formation. This dinosaur was quite a small-sized herbivore creature that is estimated to have attained a length of 3.3 ft (1 m) and ranged between 5–20 lb (2.2–9 kg) in weight. However, these estimates may vary as the specimen is incomplete. It was a slender dinosaur whose tail has been reconstructed as long as its body as the tail wasn't recovered in the fossil remains. It is known that this early ornithischian dinosaur possessed unique characteristics such as its elongated hand bones, open hip socket, and powerful hind limbs. It is also assumed that Pisanosaurus had feathers all over its body like other early members of the reptilian group.

How many bones did a Pisanosaurus have?

It is not known how many bones the pisanosaurus possessed as the skeleton discovered was incomplete and fragmented. The Pisanosaurus skeleton that was discovered in Argentina's Ischigualasto Formation by Galileo J. Scaglia consisted of an incomplete lower jaw, ischium and pubis, cervical, sacral, and dorsal vertebrae, fragmentary ilium, a few ribs, a scapula, a coracoid, and a partial skull.

How did they communicate?

It is not known how these dinosaurs communicated. However, it is assumed that dinosaurs of the order Ornithischia (meaning bird-hipped) were able to produce deep, loud noises.

How big was a Pisanosaurus?

It is estimated that it could have attained a length of 3.3 ft (1 m). Its length is similar to that of the Gasparinisaura!

How fast could a Pisanosaurus move?

It was a bipedal herbivore that is believed to have been able to run very fast on its hindlimbs. Its short forelimbs were not utilized while walking and running. It is believed that this small-sized early Ornithischian was quite skittish and that it would have run very fast if it sensed danger.

How much did a Pisanosaurus weigh?

It is estimated that the Pisanosaurus ranged between 5–20 lb (2.2–9 kg) in weight.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names assigned to the males and females of this species.

What would you call a baby Pisanosaurus?

The baby of Pisanosaurus mertii can be referred to as a hatchling or juvenile.

What did they eat?

Pisanosaurus is assumed to have been a herbivore dinosaur that foraged in herds and fed upon low-lying vegetation present in its habitat that comprised dense forests. There was a plethora of plant material available, such as ferns and horsetails. It had unique structures present in its skull that are believed to have been utilized to snip off plants. It is believed that forming herds when feeding may have helped in sensing danger fast. A bulky and large creature, Saurosuchus, was a significant threat to these herbivores.

How aggressive were they

These animals are assumed to be not quite aggressive as they weren't as powerful as the larger carnivores of their era. They also did not feed upon other animals and stuck to a plant-based diet.

Did you know...

The Mesozoic Era took place 252-66 million years ago and the name means 'middle life'. This Era was the time of mighty dinosaurs and included periods like the Jurassic, Triassic, and the Cretaceous!

The Mesozoic Era is also commonly known as the Age of Dinosaurs!

The order Ornithischia, to which the Pisanosaurus belongs, is an order of herbivorous, beaked dinosaurs that call also be referred to as bird-hipped due to the structure of their hip bones.

The dinosaurs that belong to the order Ornithischia are not closely related to birds!

Dracohors is a sub-group of Dinosauriformes!

Asilisaurus dates back to the Anisian age of the mid-Triassic Period approximately 245 million years ago and is the oldest recognized drachortian!

What does Pisanosaurus mean?

This dinosaur, Pisanosaurus mertii, was named and described in 1967 by the renowned Argentine paleontologist Rodolfo Casamiquela. The name 'Pisanosaurus' means 'Mr. Pisano's lizard' and originated from the term 'Pisano' and honors La Plata Museum's Argentine paleontologist, Juan A. Pisano. The term 'sauros' is derived from a Greek word and means lizard.

Is Pisanosaurus the oldest known species?

Pisanosaurus is not the oldest known species of dinosaurs. However, it is the oldest recognized ornithischian. It is a member of the dinosaur group Ornithischia that existed throughout the Mesozoic Era. Nyasasaurus parringtoni is the oldest recognized dinosaur ever discovered to date.

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 Elasmosaurus facts and Ohmdenosaurus facts for kids.

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

Second image by Nobu Tamura.

Pisanosaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plant matter

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?

Small and slender dinosaur with a beak

How Much Did They Weigh?

5–20 lb (2.2–9 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

3.3 ft (1 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Pisanosaurus mertii

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Low-lying vegetation in dense forests

Where Did They Live?

‬Ischigualasto Formation, Argentina‭
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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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