CHILESAURUS: ENIGMATIC COUSIN OF T. REX WAS VEGGIE
A new dinosaur from the late Jurassic period, called Chilesaurus diegosuarezi has baffled scientists due its peculiar anatomy. The animal was discovered at Aysen, southern Chile. Has been identified as a primitive species of theropod, and exceptionally, was herbivorous. Its name refers to its geographical origin and Diego Suarez, a seven year old boy who found the first bone.
The animal belongs to the theropod group of dinosaurs, which includes the carnivorous tyrannosaurs and velociraptors. But unlike its meat-eating cousins, Chilesaurus had switched diets and become a vegetarian. Meat eaters tend to have sharp teeth and large heads supported by thick necks. Chilesaurus had a horny beak, flatter teeth for chomping plants, a small head and slender neck. “It’s a therapod that turned vegetarian,” said Novas, who leads the study.
“Its arms were robust, but the hands only had two fairly short fingers, ending in slightly curved claws, so they did not use its hands to catch animals. This dinosaur could be described as a puma headed-guanaco and atrophied hands like a T. rex, "adds Novas
The finding illustrates how much relevant data on the early diversification
of major dinosaur groups remain unknown.
- Awesome Illustrations by Gabriel Lío
- reference: Novas et al. 2015. An enigmatic plant-eating theropod from the Late Jurassic period of Chile. Nature
- more info available at Smithsonian Mag