Remains of Fanged, Tiny Veggie Dinosaur Found
A “punk-sized” dinosaur with porcupine-like bristles featured some flashy stabbing self-sharpening fangs – although it likely only had a taste for plants. The newly identified dinosaur, named Pegomastax africanus, or “thick jaw from Africa,” was a mere two feet long and weighed less than a modern housecat in the flesh. Its remains were chipped out of 200-million-year-old red rock from South Africa.
Paul Sereno, author of a study about the find in the journal ZooKeys, studied the remains, which belong to a single specimen uncovered in a collection of fossils at Harvard University. Sereno has identified it as a heterodontosaur. This group of herbivores included some of the first dinosaurs to spread across the planet. At the time, the supercontinent Pangea had just begun to split into northern and southern landmasses. This led to heterodontosaurs divided into northern species with simple triangular teeth, and southern species, like Pegomastax, with taller tooth crowns.