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Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 152–151 Ma
D. lettowvorbecki.jpg
D. lettowvorbecki skeleton in Berlin
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Ornithopoda
Family: Dryosauridae
Genus: Dysalotosaurus
Virchow, 1919
D. lettowvorbecki
Binomial name
Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki
Virchow, 1919

Dysalotosaurus (meaning 'uncatchable lizard') is a genus of herbivorous iguanodontian dinosaur. It was a dryosaurid iguanodontian, and its fossils have been found in late Kimmeridgian age-rocks (Late Jurassic) of the Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania. The type and only species of the genus is D. lettowvorbecki. This species was named by Hans Virchow in 1919 in honour of the Imperial German Army Officer, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. For much of the 20th century the species was referred to related and approximately contemporary genus Dryosaurus, but newer studies reject this synonymy.[1][2] In 2016, Gregory S. Paul estimated its length at 2.5 metres (8.2 ft), its weight at 80 kilograms (180 lb).[3]


Side view of skeleton

Dysalotosaurus was a precocial dinosaur, which experienced sexual maturity at ten years, had an indeterminate growth pattern, and maximum growth rates comparable to a large kangaroo.[4]


In 2011 paleontologists Florian Witzmann and Oliver Hampe from the Museum für Naturkunde and colleagues discovered that deformations of some Dysalotosaurus bones were likely caused by a viral infection similar to Paget's disease of bone. This is the oldest evidence of viral infection known to science.[5]


  1. ^ Tom R. Hübner & Oliver W. M. Rauhut (2010). "A juvenile skull of Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki (Ornithischia: Iguanodontia), and implications for cranial ontogeny, phylogeny, and taxonomy in ornithopod dinosaurs". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 160 (2): 366–396. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2010.00620.x.
  2. ^ McDonald AT, Kirkland JI, DeBlieux DD, Madsen SK, Cavin J, Milner AR, Panzarin L (November 2010). "New basal iguanodonts from the Cedar Mountain formation of Utah and the evolution of thumb-spiked dinosaurs". PLOS One. 5 (11): e14075. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014075. PMC 2989904. PMID 21124919.
  3. ^ Paul, Gregory S. (2016). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs: Second Edition. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-691-16766-4.
  4. ^ Hübner TR (2012). Laudet V (ed.). "Bone histology in Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki (Ornithischia: Iguanodontia)--variation, growth, and implications". PLOS One. 7 (1): e29958. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029958. PMC 3253128. PMID 22238683.
  5. ^ Witzmann F, Claeson KM, Hampe O, Wieder F, Hilger A, Manke I, Niederhagen M, Rothschild BM, Asbach P, Schmoldt A, Benthe HF, Haberland G, Tarentino AL, Maley F, Share JB, Moroi K, Sato T, Chow YW, Pietranico R, Mukerji A (September 2011). "Paget disease of bone in a Jurassic dinosaur". Current Biology. 21 (17): R647–8. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.006. PMID 21920291.