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2.0" Dinosaur (Thescelosaurus) Caudal Vertebra - Montana
This is a 2.0" fossil ornithopod (Thescelosaurus), caudal (tail) vertebra from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana. It is in very good condition and includes the vertebral arch. The processes are missing. This vertebra is likely from very near the end of the tail.
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.
Because of its age and sedimentary composition, the Hell Creek Formation has become one of the most paleontological 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, including 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.