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Palaeontology

T. rex's vegetarian cousin unearthed in Chile

April 28, 2015 | Comment icon 8 comments



Chilesaurus was a vegetarian therapod. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Greg Willis
Fossil remains of a turkey-sized relative to the meat-eating behemoth were found by a 7-year-old boy.
Named Chilesaurus diegosuarezi after the country in which it was first discovered, the peculiar-looking dinosaur was a bizarre amalgamation of several other species with a bird-like beak for eating plants and strong hind legs like those of a therapod.

Its unique mix of physical characteristics has since earned it the nickname 'the Platypus' after the semi-aquatic duck-billed Australian mammal that was originally thought to be a hoax when explorers first reported seeing it back in the late 18th century.

"Chilesaurus constitutes one of the most bizarre dinosaurs ever found," said study co-author Fernando Novas of Argentina's Natural History Museum.
"At the beginning, I was convinced that we had collected three different dinosaurs, but when the most complete skeleton was prepared, it (became) evident that all the elements pertained to a single dinosaur species."

Describing the creature as an "evolutionary jigsaw puzzle", Novas and his team believe that Chilesaurus represents a whole new type of therapod dinosaur that could change, among other things, our current understanding of the evolution of birds.

The pint-sized oddity is thought to have lived at the very end of the Jurassic era around 145 million years ago, well before its much bigger cousin Tyrannosaurus rex ever appeared on the scene.

Source: ABC.net.au | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Taun 7 years ago
That sounds like every kids dream, doesn't it...
Comment icon #2 Posted by Anomalocaris 7 years ago
Theropod dinosaurs were the dominant predators in most Mesozoic era terrestrial ecosystems. Early theropod evolution is currently interpreted as the diversification of various carnivorous and cursorial taxa, whereas the acquisition of herbivorism, together with the secondary loss of cursorial adaptations, occurred much later among advanced coelurosaurian theropods. A new, bizarre herbivorous basal tetanuran from the Upper Jurassic of Chile challenges this conception. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14307.html
Comment icon #3 Posted by BeastieRunner 7 years ago
That sounds like every kids dream, doesn't it... Indeed. I can only imagine we now have a future paleontologist now.
Comment icon #4 Posted by She-ra 7 years ago
Here's another article on this: If you thought duck-billed dinosaurs were odd, wait until you hear about the latest weird and wonderful creature to join the ever-expanding dino fossil record: the ‘platypus’ dinosaur. This newly discovered species hasn’t earned this nickname because of a resemblance to today’s unusual egg-laying mammal, but rather because it is a bizarre hodge-podge of characteristics that paleontologists were extremely surprised to find on the same animal. Link: http://www.iflscience.com/physics/bizarre-new-pick-and-mix-platypus-dinosaur-baffles-scientists Very cool
Comment icon #5 Posted by ancient astronaut 7 years ago
Turkeysaurusrex, goes great with cranberry sauce.
Comment icon #6 Posted by BeastieRunner 7 years ago
That boy must also be an instant legend among his classmates!
Comment icon #7 Posted by She-ra 7 years ago
Turkeysaurusrex, goes great with cranberry sauce. Thanks for the laugh ancient astronaut. I needed that
Comment icon #8 Posted by ancient astronaut 7 years ago
Thanks for the laugh ancient astronaut. I needed that Anytime.


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