OK it’s not really all that like a platypus but it is just as strange. So strange in fact that, like the platypus, scientists at first disbelieved it was a real species and merely a collection of bones from several.
Fossils of the strange dinosaur unearthed in southern Chile show that it was a therapod – the same group that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and the Velociraptor. But unlike those meat-eaters, the new dinosaur, named Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, was a vegetarian with both a beak and leaf-shaped teeth. It lived 150 million years ago, was just over three metres tall had strong arms, with two fingers on each hand and was bipedal, with a bird-like pelvis. Its lineage was previously unknown.
“Chilesaurus constitutes one of the most bizarre dinosaurs ever found,” palaeontologist Fernando Novas of the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires, told Reuters. He said the dinosaur was an evolutionary “jigsaw puzzle”.
“The skeletal anatomy of Chilesaurus gathers characteristics of different dinosaur groups, like a floor is composed of mosaics of different shapes and colors. No other dinosaurs exhibit such a combination or mixture of features.”
The research appears in the journal Nature.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.