Friday, May 22, 2015Friday, May 22, 2015

Odd species of wee dinosaur identified in US

Published on Oct 4, 2012 9:09 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Researchers have identified a species of puny dinosaur so odd-looking - quills like a porcupine, a parrot-like beak and fangs like a vampire - it probably deserved a small part in Jurassic Park. The finding was reported on Wednesday in the online journal ZooKeys by Paul Sereno, a paleontologist and dinosaur specialist at the University of Chicago.

He did so belatedly. The specimen was first chipped out of a slab of red rock in southern Africa in the 1960s, and Mr Sereno viewed it in 1983 at Harvard University.

Mr Sereno told The New York Times that when he first saw it, "my eyes popped, as it was clear this was a new species." Ever since, the dinosaur researcher said he wondered "if anyone else might spot the creature hiding among the lab drawers."

The creature is part of a class of small herbivores called heterodontosaurus. Mr Sereno has baptised it Pegomastax africanus, or thick jaw from Africa.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!