Researchers have identified a species of puny dinosaur so odd looking — quills like a porcupine, a parrot-like beak and fangs like a vampire — it probably deserved a small part in “Jurassic Park.”
The finding was reported Wednesday in the online journal ZooKeys by Paul Sereno, a paleontologist and dinosaur specialist at the University of Chicago.
He did so belatedly. The specimen was first chipped out of a slab of red rock in southern Africa in the 1960s, and Sereno viewed it in 1983 at Harvard University.
Sereno told The New York Times that when he first saw it, “my eyes popped, as it was clear this was a new species.”
Ever since, the dinosaur researcher said he wondered “if anyone else might spot the creature hiding among the lab drawers.”
The creature is part of a class of small herbivores called heterodontosaurus. Sereno has baptized it Pegomastax africanus, or thick jaw from Africa.
The dinosaur measured less than two feet (61 centimeters) long and weighed less than a house cat, according to Sereno.
Its tall teeth in the upper and lower jaws operated like self-sharpening scissors.
While some scientists say heterodontosaurs ate meat or at least insects, Sereno said the sharp, vampire-like canines were more likely for self-defense or competitive sparring for mates.
The creature lived some 200 million years ago. Such small herbivores spread across the globe and while they are virtually unknown to the public, “Pegomastax and kin were the most advanced plant eaters of their day,” Sereno said in his report.
Bristles much like those of a porcupine probably covered much of its body.
He said small heterodontosaurs like Pegomastax probably spent their time scurrying about looking for plants to eat and looking like a “nimble two-legged porcupine.”
Genocide expert breaks down how all of the ‘warning signs’ are present in Trump’s America
Defense research scientist and genocide expert Brynn Tannehill laid out a terrifying warning on Thursday about President Donald Trump's administration.
As the United States Senate conducted an impeachment trial for the commander-in-chief, Tannehill posted an extended Twitter thread examining the situation in America from her perspective as a researcher studying the conditions that lead to genocide.
Here is what she wrote:
I study genocide. It's been a theme in my academic endeavours for nearly 30 years. More accurately, I study the conditions in the lead up to genocide, be they cultural, social, political, economic, etc... 1/n
Year of Rat hails easy ride for Donald Trump — but bumps for Harry and Meghan
As the world prepares to welcome the Year of the Rat, feng shui masters predict a lucky year for Donald Trump, but warn Harry and Meghan's futures are less certain as they make a bid for freedom.
Both the US President and the Sussexes have begun 2020 with a bang.
The former is facing down an impeachment trial -- and seeking re-election in November -- while the latter are beginning a new chapter in Canada after consciously uncoupling from the gilded but pressured career of being a working British royal.
But if experts in the field of Chinese horoscopes are to be believed, it is the US president that will have the easier journey this year.
John Roberts caused a ‘crisis of democratic legitimacy’ — it’s ‘entirely fitting’ he has to preside over his mess: columnist
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was blasted in The Washington Post on Thursday for his culpability in creating the dynamics that resulted in President Donald Trump -- and his impeachment.
"There is justice in John Roberts being forced to preside silently over the impeachment trial of President Trump, hour after hour, day after tedious day," Dana Milbank wrote. "Roberts’s captivity is entirely fitting: He is forced to witness, with his own eyes, the mess he and his colleagues on the Supreme Court have made of the U.S. political system. As representatives of all three branches of government attend this unhappy family reunion, the living consequences of the Roberts Court’s decisions, and their corrosive effect on democracy, are plain to see."