Leaellynasaura showing their camouflaged skin in a forest


The tail of the small, plant-eating Leaellynasaura dinosaur was three times as long as its body. Described in 1989 after skull fragments and bones were found in Australia's Dinosaur Cove - one of the few dinosaurs ever found in Australia - they were named after the discoverer's daughter (Leallyn). Large eye sockets and optic nerve casings may have given leaellynasaura enhanced vision to cope with the long, dark winter months. Odd to think of Australia having such winters, but during the early Cretaceous some 110 million years ago, this part of the world fell within the Antarctic circle.

Scientific name: Leaellynasaura

Rank: Genus

Common names:

Leaellyn's lizard

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Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

Cretaceous period Cretaceous period
The Cretaceous ended with the most famous mass extinction in history - the one that killed the dinosaurs. Prior to that, it was a warm period with no ice caps at the poles.