Revealed: What happens if you cross a parrot, a vampire bat and a porcupine? You get a weird dinosaur
Wednesday 03 October 2012
A newly described dinosaur resembled a weird combination of parrot, vampire bat and porcupine.
Pegomastax africanus, which measured less than two feet, lived in southern Africa some 200 million years ago.
Despite having a parrot-like beak and eating plants, it also sported vampire-like pairs of sharp-edged fangs.
Scientists believe the enlarged canines may have been used for self defence and competitive sparring.
Most of the dinosaur's body was covered in sharp bristles, or quills.
Professor Paul Sereno, from the University of Chicago in the US, said it would have looked like a "nimble two-legged porcupine."
A single fossil specimen of the species was originally extracted from red rock in the 1960s.
Later it was "discovered" in a collection of fossils at Harvard University in the US.
Details of the creature's anatomy and lifestyle were published today in the online journal ZooKeys.
Scientists said the dinosaur's parrot-shaped skull, which was less than three inches long, may have been adapted to plucking fruit.
"It's very rare that a plant-eater like Pegomastax would sport sharp-edged enlarged canines," said Prof Sereno, who led the team studying the dinosaur.
Pegomastax belonged to a family called heterodonosaurs, which included Tianyulong, another bristle-covered dinosaur from China.
Branches of the same family tree later led to famous plant-eaters such as the horned Triceratops and Stegosaurus.
Although the early herbivores are virtually unknown to the public, Prof Sereno said: "Pegomastax and kin were the most advanced plant-eaters of their day."
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 The jihadi girls who went to Syria weren't just radicalised by Isis — they were groomed
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Someone has actually got a tattoo of that dress
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...
£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...