Photos: Fanged Dinosaurs: New Species Discovered in Southern Africa
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | Oct 05, 2012 08:45 PM EDT
A new species of plant-eating dinosaurs has been found in southern Africa by paleontologists from the University of Chicago.
Pegomastax Africanus, the herbivorous dinosaurs, were found while analysing fossils found in South Africa in 1960.
Latest analysis has revealed that the fossils belong to new species of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived 200 million years ago.
Pegomastax Africanus had a short, parrot-shaped beak up front, a pair of canines and tall teeth tucked behind for slicing plants. The tall teeth in their upper and lower jaws operated like self-sharpening scissors, with shearing wear facets that slid past one another when the jaws closed. The dinosaurs had weird parrot-shaped skulls, less than three inches long.
Scientists also found that the Pegomastax bodies were covered with bristles, just like those of porcupines, which measured less than two feet in length and weighed less than a housecat.
Another unusual thing was the Pegomastax had very large canines, just like vampires. Previously, scientists believe that canines were useful to consume meat or at the least insects, but now they found that canines were used to slice plants, according to the findings published in Zookeys journal.
During the study, scientists had examined the teeth of Pegomastax and found that the dinosaurs were excellent in self-defence and they also protect their mates from other dinosaurs. They used their large teeth to protect themselves and their family from other deadly dinosaurs.
"Self-defence and competitive sparring for mates is more likely Pegomastax's role," said Paul Sereno, paleontologist and professor at the University of Chicago.
Scientists claim that the new species of dinosaurs belongs to one of a menagerie of bizarre, tiny, fanged plant-eaters called heterodontosaurs, or "different toothed reptiles," which were among the first dinosaurs to spread across the planet.
Pegomastax africanus is a new species and features a short, parrot-shaped beak, a pair of stabbing canines and tall teeth for slicing plants.Source: University of Chicago Date:10/05/2012
Pegomastax body was covered with bristles, just like that of a porcupine, which measured less than 2 feet in length and weighed less than a housecat.Source: University of Chicago Date:10/05/2012
The new species had a short, parrot-shaped beak up front, a pair of stabbing canines and tall teeth tucked behind for slicing plants.Source: University of Chicago Date:10/05/2012
The Pegomastax jaw is only 1 inch in length.Source: University of Chicago Date:10/05/2012