A newly discovered vegetarian dinosaur was found in Chile by seven-year-old Diego Suarez while hiking with his geologist parents, Manuel Suarez and Rita de la Cruz. They were hiking at the Aysen Toqui Formation near Chilean Patagonia. Now, Diego has bragging rights for the life for his adventure because the small turkey-sized dinosaur is going to be named after him; the vegetarian dinosaur was dubbed the Chilesaurus Diegosuarezi.
Diego found pieces of rib bones and vertebrae which began a larger search to discover more of this brand new dinosaur species that appears to have lived in the area over 145-million years ago. This new vegetarian dinosaur is found to be a relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex, even though Chilesaurus ate plants, and T-rex ate meat.
Vegetarian Dinosaur Has Strange Mix of Features
The paleontologists studying the new vegetarian dinosaur say that it is a type of platypus dinosaur because it has a strange mix of characteristics. The Chilesaurus has a very small skull, a long neck, large legs, and small arms like a T-rex, but its teeth show that it was a plant eater, plus it has blunt finger-like paws instead of claws like a meat eater.
Even so, it is being put into the species of dinosaurs called “theropods,” which includes meat-eaters like T-rex and velociraptors. The pelvic region of this vegetarian dinosaur looks like those that show up in ornithischian dinosaurs. All of these strange and different characteristics show that it was adapting to a specific kind of diet, which is why it took on features of several species in a process called evolutionary convergence, making this new vegetarian dinosaur a fascinating adventure indeed for the researchers lucky enough to be able to study it.
New Vegetarian Dinosaur Helps Us Understand More Of Herbivories
Paleontologists studying this new vegetarian dinosaur were excited to be on this dinosaur adventure because its unique mix of characteristics has helped them understand more about the time when dinosaurs started to eat plants. It was previously held that this particular feature happened much later in evolution. Science shows that this type of crossover first had dinosaurs eating both plants and meat, and then becoming plant eaters; this is supposed to have happened during the Cretaceous period.
Scientists also believe that the Chilesaurus was one of the types of dinosaurs that were very plentiful in the area it was found. While the bones found this time showed this specimen to be turkey-sized, it is believed that the Chilesaurus could reach about a maximum of 10 feet in size. Several other skeletons have been found since Diego’s finding of the very first of these Chilesaurus Diegosuarezi.
Four Chileans and a New Zealander friend travel their South American continent, exploring from Santiago de Chile, like Diego Suarez, proving that home is still a pretty epic adventure: