The newly identified Pegomastax africanus is a strange new anomaly in the dinosaur world. When it roamed the planet more than 200 million years ago, it was less than 2 feet long and didn't even weigh as much as a housecat--making it one of the smallest dinos ever--and it definitely wasn't as likable as a housecat: despite it probably being a herbivore, it had 1-inch-long fangs and porcupine-style quills.
The fossil that carried Pegomastax africanus, or "thick jaw from Africa," was first found in the 1960s by scientists in South Africa, but the specimen inside was only later discovered. This is the first time it's been identified and described, and it appears online today in the journal ZooKeys.
In case the giant teeth weren't enough, the dinosaur also had a pair of short canines that it could use in a stabbing motion. That's odd for a herbivore, so some have suggested it at least partook in the occasional insect. (It's one of a breed of fanged plant-eaters called heterodontosaurs, or "different-toothed" reptiles. Which sounds like a bit of a euphemism.)
But even if it were a carnivore, and the thought of a "Jurassic Park"-type invasion is keeping you up at night, take comfort in this image showing its size relative to humans.
This 200 million year old dino chicken would scare the begeezus out of Colonel Sanders, lol! ;)
I f***ing love science. I wonder how much meat would be on that little guy. Is it sad that our first instinct is to figure out if we could eat it?
I think the fact that it has quills is kind of weird, since its the only dinosaur I can think of that has been said to wield them...
That just shows our culture. :)
"God exists since mathematics is consistent, and the Devil exists since we cannot prove it is."
Speak for yourselves-I like it a lot! On the more seriously inquisitive side, do any modern reptiles have quills? This animal seems too mammal-like to be a dinosaur.
No - no modern reptile has quills, but dinosaurs were in fact not reptiles, even though that is the popular opinion. Studies of fossil bones have shown, that the dinosaurs grew constantly throughout their younger years - just like mammals. If they were in fact reptiles, you would be able to see growth rings in the structure - like in a tree. Reptiles only grow when the conditions are good. If the weather is warm and they eat well and so on. When the conditions are bad, their growth slows down and that leaves a mark in their bones. That is also why many paleontologists now believe that the small carnivores all had feathers or hairlike structures - to keep them warm.
Mihsu, you forget that quills and other featherlike protrusions point that most -saurs were bird like, and that flight evolved from dinosaurs. There was a grand debate on here a while ago about that.
But in either sense, I think that dino's were varied, certain species near reptiles, and others near avian. Creatures like the above Pegomastax africanus was most likely avian, due to the massive quills arranged about it's head.
And feathers also were great for incline running, and assisted jumping. They probably came first for heat though, I will give you that.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
I wonder if cooked, if they taste like chicken, lol?
Why would a herbivore need fangs?? Doesn't seem logical. I can't think of any common (today) herbivore animals with fang teeth. They all have grinding teeth, don't they? (Horse, goat, sheep, cow, etc.)