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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Thick Jaw From Africa

Paleontologist from the University of Chicago, Paul Sereno publish findings herbivorous dinosaurs with long jaws about an inch from the early era of the dinosaurs about 200 million years ago in the journal ZooKeys online. Fossils of dinosaur-sized house cat is described as a cross between a bird, a vampire and a porcupine on a rock in South Africa. The dinosaur called including Heterodontosaurus or "reptile with different teeth," which was among the first dinosaurs spread across the Earth.

An artist’s conception of Pegomastax
africanus, one of the smallest
dinosaurs ever discovered. (Picture 
from: http://www.bendbulletin.com/)
Sereno explains, this small dinosaurs by name Pegomastax africanus or "thick jaw from Africa" ​​is a new species with a short beak like a parrot, a pair of canine teeth and high on the upper and lower jaw which function like sharp scissors to cut plants. "I describe it as a bird, a vampire and a porcupine," he said of ancient animals with weight such as house cats and height less than a foot.

The skull that looks like a bird with a skull length of less than three inches was likely formed due to adaptation to fruit picking activity. "It is very rare plant eaters like Pegomastax have canines sharp edges like a vampire," said Sereno at the University of Chicago's official website.

Some scientists believe that consumption of meat, or at least insects, are part of the food Heterodontosaurus, developed almost simultaneously with the famous plant-eating dinosaurs such as Triceratops and Stegosaurus.
The fossil of Pegomastax africanus that found in South Africa fifty years ago. (Picture from: http://www.thecrimson.com/)
According to Sereno, based on microscopic examination of the teeth and their relatives seem Pegomastax canine teeth are likely to play a role in self-defense and competition for the pair. While a chipped tooth enamel indicates that Pegomastax canine fangs and other Heterodontosaurus use canines to clamp or even digging, rather than to cut the meat. When Pegomastax lived about 200 million years ago, the great continent Pangaea began to break into a new land in the south and north.

According to the study, Heterodontosaurus apparently also evenly divided into two because there are species with simple triangular teeth like Tianyulong in the north and the species with higher crowns like Pegomastax in the south.
Sereno told Reuters that he actually found a smallish dinosaur skeleton in 1983, while doing research in the laboratory of the University of Harvard, but did not immediately write it because he was working on a more ambitious project. "I said, 'Whoa!' I realized it was a new species when you first see it, "said Sereno who also conduct research to map the family tree of dinosaurs. *** [NATURE WORLD NEWS | EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES] 
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