‘Parrot dinosaur’ discovered in Mongolia

June 17th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 17 (ANI): Scientists have found the fossil of a previously undiscovered dinosaur resembling a giant parrot in Mongolia.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the new dino, named Psittacosaurus gobiensis, meaning ‘parrot lizzard’, is thought to have lived about 110 million years ago.

Psittacosaurs are noted for being the most species-rich dinosaur genus with at least nine different species, including the latest found in the Gobi Desert, a famous dinosaur graveyard.

Features of the dinosaur included a near perfect skull, strong jaw muscles and a powerful biting and crushing bill, showing that it evolved structures like those in today’s parrots.

The three feet long psittacosaurs may also have had a diet dominated by nuts and seeds, owing to the presence of many large stomach stones, according to the findings.

Professor Paul Sereno, a Biologist from the University of Chicago, said that analysis of its skull showed it chewed its food in a similar way to modern parrots.

“These and other features, along with the presence of numerous large stomach stones, suggest that psittacosaurs may have had a high-fibre, nut eating diet,” he said.

Its short snout just a third of the skull length was different to most dinosaurs, giving the skull its parrot-esque profile.

They ate nothing but plants and walked normally on two legs, but could reach the ground with their three-fingered hands.

They were good runners and were extremely successful in Asia about 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period.

“Psittacosaurs are all relatively small in body size, ranging from one to two metres in body length. Their geographic range is limited to central Asia, and their temporal range may be as narrow as 10-20 million years in the mid Cretaceous,” said Prof Sereno.

It is a member of the Ceratopsia group of herbivorous, beaked dinosaurs, which also include the more famous Triceratops. (ANI)

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