New Fanged Dwarf Dinosaur Found—"Would Be Nice Pet"
Odd, spiky dinosaur likely used self-sharpening teeth for self-defense.
So says a new study of Pegomastax africanus, a 2-foot-long (0.6-meter-long) heterodontosaur that lived about 200 million years ago. (Test your dinosaur IQ.)
Covered in porcupine-like quills and sporting a blunt, parrot-like beak, P. africanus would've looked like a "strange little bird," said Sereno, a paleontologist with the University of Chicago.
But its fangs, Sereno argues, were more like those of the piglike peccary (picture) or fanged deer, or water chevrotain (video)—modern-day, plant-eating mammals that use their teeth for self-defense and foraging.
The species, he added, would have lived along forested rivers in southern Africa around the time the supercontinent Pangaea had just begun to split into the northern and southern landmasses.
(Watch video: "'Nasty' Little Dinosaur Discovered.")