• Name: Micropachycephalosaurus (Greek for "tiny thick-headed lizard"); pronounced MY-cro-PACK-ee-SEFF-ah-low-SORE-us
  • Habitat: Woodlands of Asia
  • Historical Period: Late Cretaceous (80-70 million years ago)
  • Size and Weight: About two feet long and 5-10 pounds
  • Diet: Plants
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Small size; bipedal posture; unusually thick skull

About Micropachycephalosaurus

The nine-syllable name Micropachycephalosaurus may sound like a mouthful, but it's not so bad if you break it down into its constituent Greek roots: micro, pachy, cephalo, and saurus. That translates into "tiny thick-headed lizard," and fittingly, Micropachycephalosaurus seems to have been the smallest of all the known pachycephalosaurs (otherwise known as bone-headed dinosaurs). For the record, one of the dinosaurs with the shortest given names (Mei) was also bite-sized; make of that what you will!

But hold the Jurassic phone: despite its imposing name, Micropachycephalosaurus may turn out not to have been a pachycephalosaur at all, but a very small (and very basal) ceratopsian, or horned, frilled dinosaur. In 2011, paleontologists closely examined the bone-headed dinosaur family tree and were unable to find a convincing place for this multisyllabic dinosaur; they also re-examined the original fossil specimen of Micropachycephalosaurus and were unable to confirm the existence of a thickened skull (that part of the skeleton was missing from the museum collection).

What if, despite this recent classification, Micropachycephalosaurus is re-re-assigned as a true bonehead? Well, because this dinosaur has been reconstructed from a single, incomplete fossil discovered in China (by the famous paleontologist Dong Zhiming), the possibility looms that it may one day be "downgraded"--that is, paleontologists will agree that it's another type of pachycephalosaur entirely. (The skulls of pachycephalosaurs changed as these dinosaurs aged, meaning that a juvenile of a given genus is often incorrectly assigned to a new genus). If Micropachycephalosaurus winds up losing its place in the dinosaur record books, some other multisyllabic dinosaur (possibly Opisthocoelicaudia) will rise up to assume the "world's longest name" title.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Strauss, Bob. "Micropachycephalosaurus." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/micropachycephalosaurus-1092911. Strauss, Bob. (2020, August 25). Micropachycephalosaurus. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/micropachycephalosaurus-1092911 Strauss, Bob. "Micropachycephalosaurus." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/micropachycephalosaurus-1092911 (accessed June 6, 2023).