PARKSOSAURUS (PARKS-oh-SORE-us)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Ornithischia, Ornithopoda, Hypsilophodontidae

Location: North America (Canada)

Length: 8 feet (2.5 meters)

Not many fossils of Parksosaurus have been found. It is known only from a single skeleton and poorly preserved skull from the southern part of Alberta.

The head of Parksosaurus was slightly longer compared to its body size than other hypsilophodontids. The teeth were blunt and peglike, with many rounded ridges. Its teeth were probably used to chew fleshy fruits, thick leaves, and possibly insects if they could be caught.

The body was stocky for a small animal. The limbs were somewhat short and strongly built; it was not a fast runner. Like other hypsilophodontids, the tail had a basket-work of ossified (bony) tendons. Those tendons held the tail out stiffly; the tail acted as a balance for the front half of the body when the animal walked bipedally (on two legs). In this way, the front limbs were free to grasp fruits or move branches around and toward its mouth. As with most hypsilophodontids, the hands and feet of this dinosaur were tipped with slightly curved claws.

Charles Sternberg named Parksosaurus in honor of W. A. Parks, chief paleontologist of the Royal Ontario Museum early in the 20th century. Relatives of Parksosaurus include Thescelosaurus and Orodromeus, from Canada and the United States.