genus of reptiles (fossil)

Micropachycephalosaurus, a tiny thick headed lizard, is a genus of ornithischian dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous. It was a herbivore, and lived in what is now Shandong, China. It was one of the smallest dinosaur ever discovered, just over a meter long, but with the longest name. Before it was discovered Compsognathus was the smallest known dinosaur.[1]

Drawing of what a Micropachycephalosaurus might have looked like.

Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous 70.6–68.5 mya
Scientific classification

The lack of the skull roof means the fossil cannot be placed at family level. It might or might not be a pachycephalosaur. Butler and Zhao therefore classified it as an indeterminate member of the Cerapoda.[1] In 2011, cladistic analysis showed that Micropachycephalosaurus is a basal member of the Ceratopsia.[2] In this context, basal does not mean 'ancestral'; the fossil is far too late for that. It means simply 'unspecialized', or lacking derived traits.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Butler R.J. and Zhao Q. 2009. The small-bodied ornithischian dinosaurs Micropachycephalosaurus hongtuyanensis and Wannanosaurus yansiensis from the Late Cretaceous of China. Cretaceous Research 30(1):63-77. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2008.03.002
  2. Butler, Richard J.; et al. (2011). "The postcranial osteology and phylogenetic position of the small ornithischian dinosaur Changchunsaurus parvus from the Quantou Formation (Cretaceous: Aptian–Cenomanian) of Jilin Province, north-eastern China". Palaeontology. 54 (3): 667–683. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01046.x. S2CID 131608089.