|1st Species||Hypsilophodon foxii|
|Time Range||130-125 mya|
|Name Meaning||High-crested tooth|
|Physical Dimensions||1.7 meters long|
Hypsilophodon is an ornithopod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of the United Kingdom. It was named in 1869 by Thomas Henry Huxley. It was one of the first small dinosaurs to be discovered, and it was once thought to be a juvenile Iguanodon right before it was discovered to be a unique dinosaur.
Hypsilophodon resembled the generic ornithopod. It was an ornithischian with a bulky body, long legs, a long tail, semi-short arms, a small beak in front of its mouth, and large, eagle-like brows near the top of its eyes. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.
Hypsilophodon was an herbivore, feeding on plants low to the ground. Its big, toothy beak was used for stripping branches of their leaves, while the many cheek teeth in the back of its mouth were used for shredding plants.
For a long time, there was a few major misconceptions about Hypsilophodon, which included the notions that it was able to climb trees, it was able to crawl like a lizard, and it was covered in armor plates. Further research done on Hypsilophodon indicates that it neither had an opposable fourth toe nor sharp, curving claws, which made it poorly adapted for an arboreal lifestyle; as well as this, it indicates that it was a fast runner with long legs and a bird-like posture, rather than the lizard-like creeper everyone was familiar with for a while, and its "armor plates" were actually special bones that helped the ribcage move as a single unit when the dinosaur was breathing. As well as this, like most small ornithopods, it would have fed on vegetation low to the ground, pulling leaves off of branches and shearing them with its back teeth; however, unlike many ornithopods, it had teeth on its beak, which probably meant that it specialized in eating certain plants. Finally, it had an opposable fifth finger on each hand; what exactly that finger was used for is yet unknown.
In popular cultureEdit
It is unknown when Hypsilophodon was first introduced to the general public, but it has appeared in many major pieces of media like Fantasia and The Land Before Time, the latter of which depicts it as a tree-climber (as it was believed to be back then).