Illustration: Leptoceratops gracilis dinosaur

Leptoceratops gracilis likely survived for about 50 million years before going extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period.

©National Geographic Society

Fast Facts

Type:
Prehistoric
Diet:
Herbivore
Size:
6 to 9 ft (2 to 2.7 m) long
Protection status:
Extinct
Did you know?
Leptoceratops means "slim horned face."
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Leptoceratops gracilis compared with adult man

Though Leptoceratops was 6 to 9 feet (2 to 2.7 meters) long, it was only 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) high at its hips. This long, slender, low-slung animal browsed on ground cover and other low plants—but it may have been able to extend its reach.

Leptoceratops's front legs were shorter than its hind legs, leading to reasoning that it might have been able to stand or even walk on its hind legs.

Leptoceratops had a very large head for its body size, and this skull often survives as a fossil. Leptoceratops also had a beaklike snout and a smallish neck frill. It did not sport the dramatic horns and large neck frills that are common in its more advanced and better-known relatives, such as Triceratops.

As an individual, Leptoceratops, a smallish herbivore, may have been quite vulnerable to the formidable predators of the Cretaceous period. Leptoceratops roamed western North America between 67 million and 65 million years ago.

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