Hypsilophodon - Dinosaurs A-Z
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Hypsilophodon - Dinosaurs A-Z
Dinosaurs A-Z will introduce you to some unique dinosaurs. I'm a big dinosaur fan and have read and researched many dinosaurs. Hypsilophodon is the eight in my collection of dinosaur geocaches.
An ornithopod dinosaur genus from the Early Cretaceous period of England.The first remains of Hypsilophodon were found in 1849 and in 1869 the type species Hypsilophodon foxii was named. Abundant fossil discoveries were made on the Isle of Wight, giving a good impression of the build of the species. It was a small bipedal animal with an herbivorous or possibly omnivorous diet. Hypsilophodon reached up to 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) in length and weighed about 20 kg (45 lbs). It could run fast. It had a pointed head equipped with a sharp beak to bite off plant material.
Older studies have given rise to number of misconceptions about Hypsilophodon: that it would climb trees, was armoured, reached a length of 2.3 metres (7.5 ft) and was also found outside of Wight. During the past decades new research has gradually shown this to be incorrect.
Discovery and Species:
The first remains of Hypsilophodon were recovered in the early days of paleontology in 1849, when workers on the Isle of Wight dug up the so-called Mantell-Bowerbank block. One piece of it was sold to Gideon Mantell, the other to naturalist James Scott Bowerbank. However, at the time, the bones were thought to belong to a young Iguanodon: first Mantell in 1849, and then Richard Owen in 1855 describing the block as such.
It was not until 1870 that paleontologist Thomas Henry Huxley was able to publish a fuller description of Hypsilophodon as we know it today, understanding it represented a species different from Iguanodon. He had gained access in 1868 to a specimen found in January that year by the Reverend William Fox, who had earlier discovered some fossils of the animal as well. This specimen included the skull, which had been lacking with the Mantell-Bowerbank block. Huxley first announced the new species in 1869 in a lecture; the text of this, published the same year, forms the official naming article, because it contained a sufficient description. In 1870, Huxley expanded this into a full article, in which he became the first researcher to notice that the Ornithischia (not yet known as such at the time) had a pubic bone pointing backwards like birds.
Due to its small size, Hypsilophodon fed on low-growing vegetation, in view of the pointed snout most likely preferring high quality plant material, such as young shoots and roots, in the manner of modern deer. The structure of its skull, with the teeth set far back into the jaw, strongly suggests that it had cheeks, an advanced feature that would have facilitated the chewing of food. There were twenty-three to twenty-seven maxillary and dentary teeth with vertical ridges in the animal's upper and lower jaws which, due to the fact that the tooth row of the lower jaw, its teeth curving outwards, fitted within that of the upper jaw, with its teeth curving inwards, appear to have been self-sharpening, the occlusion wearing down the teeth and providing for a simple chewing mechanism. As in almost all dinosaurs and certainly all the ornithischians, the teeth were continuously replaced in an alternate arrangement, with the two replacement waves moving from the back to the front of the jaw. The Z(ahnreihen)-spacing, the average distance in tooth position between teeth of the same eruption stage, was rather low with Hyspilophodon, about 2,3. Such a dentition would have allowed to process relatively tough plants.
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Last Updated: on 4/6/2014 3:08:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time (10:08 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum