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HypsilophodonHypsilophodon was a small, gazelle-like ornithopod that ran on two long, slender legs. It lived during the Early Cretaceous Period in Europe. It had two short forelimbs with five fingers and claws and a long, stiffened tail. Hypsilophodon had a large eyes, pouches in its cheeks and a horny beak with teeth on its upper jaw. Unlike the sauropods, Hypsilophodon was able to chew plants or leaves in it mouth, so it had no need for pebbles in its stomach to mash its food up into a digestible form.

Two Hypsiliphodon grazing

Gazelle dinosaurs

Hypsilophodon’s lifestyle was quite similar to that of a gazelle today. Large herds would spend their lives nibbling low-growing plants on open plains. While most members of the herd had their heads down, a few scanned the surroundings for danger. Running away at speed was their only option if attacked by a swift theropod. Hypsilophodon may have been able to sprint at 50 km/h (30 mph) or more.

Hypsilophodon was one of the first dinosaurs to be discovered and studied (1869).

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