2.4" Dinosaur (Thescelosaurus) Anterior Caudal Vertebra - Montana

This is a 2.4" tall, anterior caudal vertebra of a dinosaur (Thescelosaurus), collected from the Late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation in Fallon County, Montana. The bone preservation is excellent, requiring no repair or restoration. The processes are missing, though the base of each transverse process is still intact. The neural canal is partially intact as well.

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Isolated vertebra from Thescelosaurus and Pachycephalosaurus can be difficult to distinguish between without the processes, however what's left of the transverse processes indicates that this is very likely from Thescelosaurus.

Thescelosaurus was a small ornithopod dinosaur that appeared at the very end of the Late Cretaceous period in North America. The preservation and completeness of many of its specimens indicate that it may have preferred to live near streams. This bipedal ornithopod is known from several partial skeletons and skulls that indicate it grew to between 2.5 and 4.0 meters (8.2 to 13.1 ft) in length on average. It had sturdy hind limbs, small wide hands, and a head with an elongate pointed snout. The form of the teeth and jaws suggest a primarily herbivorous animal.

An artists reconstruction of Thescelosaurus. Creative Commons License
An artists reconstruction of Thescelosaurus. Creative Commons License

Because of its age and sedimentary composition, the Hell Creek Formation has become one of the most paleontologically studied areas in the world. 158 genera of animals and 64 genera of plants are known from the formation and new discoveries are made frequently. In addition to Tyrannosaurs, Ceratopsids, and Hadrosaurs, the formation has yielded remains of amphibians, reptiles, lizards, snakes and turtles, fish and sharks, avian and non-avian dinosaurs, and mammals. The Hell Creek Formation gives the most complete understanding of the environment just before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.
Thescelosaurus sp.
Fallon County, Montana
Hell Creek Formation
2.4 x 2.25 x 1.9"
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