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Wed Oct 3, 2012, 12:42 PM

Bizarre Species of Miniature Dinosaur Identified

Not every dinosaur grew up to be a mighty predator like Tyrannosaurus rex or a hulking vegan like Apatosaurus. A few stayed small, and some of the smallest dinosaurs that ever lived — tiny enough to nip at your heels — were among the first to spread across the planet more than 200 million years ago.

Fossils of these miniature, fanged plant-eaters known as heterodontosaurs, or “different toothed reptiles,” have turned up as far apart as England and China. Now, in a discovery that has been at least 50 years in the making, a new and especially bizarre species of these dwarf herbivores has been identified in a slab of red rock that was collected in the early 1960s by scientists working in South Africa.

In a report published Wednesday in the online journal ZooKeys, Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and a dinosaur specialist, described the strange anatomy of the newfound member of the heterodontosaur family and gave the new species the name Pegomastax africanus, or “thick jaw from Africa.” He also apologized in an interview for not getting around sooner to this piece of research.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/science/new-bizarre-species-of-small-dinosaur-identified.html

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Reply Bizarre Species of Miniature Dinosaur Identified (Original post)
alp227 Oct 2012 OP
Viva_La_Revolution Oct 2012 #1
Scootaloo Oct 2012 #2
Judi Lynn Oct 2012 #3

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Oct 3, 2012, 02:37 PM

1. thanks, much better than the article I saw earlier

with some stupid headline like "dino with quills would make a good pet" stupid fluff piece.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Oct 3, 2012, 02:57 PM

2. "Miniature dinosaur"?


More like the "familiar" kinds are the "megafauna" dinosaurs. Think of mammals - sure there are lots of big mammals like humans and bears and horses, and a good handful of gigantic mammals like rhinoceroses, whales, and elephants.

But the overwhelming bulk of mammals have always been things that could fit in your hand. Rodents, shrews, weasels, that sort of thing.

I imagine it would have been no different with the dinosaurs. It's simply that tiny animals don't usually fossilize well in the first place, and 65-200 million years is a long time for a fragile little fossil...

If we were to flash back to the Jurassic period, pretty much every archosaur we found within a mile radius of our drop point would be wren-sized birds and pterosaurs, and a number of dinosaurs no larger than a cat. -maybe- something deer or large-cat sized.

We'd probably get bored with how mundane it would be, actually

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 04:00 PM

3. 'Fanged vampire parrot' identified as new species of dinosaur

'Fanged vampire parrot' identified as new species of dinosaur

US palaeontologist Paul Sereno says Pegomastax africanus ate only plants but used unusual teeth to ward off predators

Paul Harris in New York
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 October 2012 15.49 EDT

Given that it weighed only as much as a domestic cat and probably ate only plants, a new species of dinosaur recently unveiled by an expert at the University of Chicago is not likely to compete with Tyrannosaurus rex in the affections of many dino-fans.

Except that Prof Paul Sereno has a certain way with words when it comes to describing the unusual beast. "It looks like a fanged vampire parrot," he told the Guardian. "And it probably had bristles, too. So it was a bristled, vampire parrot-like dinosaur."

That, of course, is not its official name. The new species that Sereno has now described in an analysis in the journal Zookeys is called Pegomastax africanus – Latin for "thick jaw from Africa". It is one of a well-known breed of tiny early dinosaurs called heterodontasaurs, which refers to their unusually-shaped teeth.

Which is where the vampire moniker comes from. For Sereno's new species of heterodontasaur has especially unusual and prominent front teeth, giving its skull a fearsome look that more than resembles something about to try and suck some blood. It also has a short, parrot-like beak. "What was it doing with these fangs?" asks Sereno.


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