Meaning: Atlas Copco lizard
Authors: Rich and Rich (1989)
Synonyms: None known
First discovery: Victoria, Australia
Roar factor: 2/10
Unearthed at Dinosaur-Cove in Victoria in 1984, Atlascopcosaurus was assigned to "Hypsilophodontidae" — a family of small, bipedal herbivores — by husband and wife team Tim and Patricia Vickers-Rich five years later solely on the strength of ridges on its cheek teeth.
However, non-hypsilophodonts such as Zalmoxes, Camptosaurus, Dryosaurus, Gasparinisaura and Talenkauen all have ridged cheek teeth too. Moreover, "Hypsilophodontidae" has since collapsed due to a lack of members. Even its flag-bearer Hypsilophodon has closer relatives elsewhere!
In their reappraisal of Australian dinosaurs in 2010, Agnolina and colleagues recovered Atlascopcosaurus as a basal ornithopod, perhaps closest to Gasparinisaura and Anabisetia, but its meagre remains continue to put the kibosh on a more concrete classification.
The species epithet, loadsi, honors the Atlas Copco regional company manager William Loads, who also assisted with the dig. Loadsa honor for the loadsi lizard.
Period: Early Cretaceous
Age: 118-110 million years ago
Est. Max. Height: ?
Est. Max. Weight: 100 kg