12:58 06 October 2012
In a journal entitled ‘Zookeys’, which was published by the University of Chicago, experts state they have discovered a new kind of dinosaur that roamed the earth up to 200million years ago. Professor Paul Sereno, from the University, has described the find as being a cross between a bird, a vampire, and a porcupine, according to reports.
The species has been called Pegomastax africanus, or ‘thick jaw from Africa’, and it is claimed to be one of the smallest types of dinosaurs. It is thought to have had quills, like that of a porcupine.
Professor Sereno told the Mail Online: “In life, dwarf-sized heterodontosaurs like Pegomastax would have scampered around in search of suitable plants looking something like a nimble two-legged porcupine.”
The creature, comparable to a domestic cat for its frame size, is thought to have had vampire fangs.
The fossil suggests the dinosaurs head would have been parrot shaped, and it would have bore two long canines set at the front of the jaw. The report states these are quite sharp, which has led to diverse opinions as to why the animal would need sharp teeth.
Some experts say the dinosaur would need these to help them eat meat, or even insects were commonly consumed by heterodontosaurs - of which family the dinosaur has been associated with.
In a report by the Mail Online, Professor Sereno is quoted saying: “It is very rare that a plant-eater like Pegomastax would sport sharp-edged, enlarged canines like that of a vampire.”
Other scientists say the fangs could have been used by the dinosaur in self-defence, as reported by the BBC.
Reportedly, the Professor first discovered the fossil as far back as the mid-to-late 1900’s while studying at Harvard University.
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