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Bizarre 'Dracula' dinosaur identified

pegomastax africanus africa 200-million-year-old

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#1 Hum

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 13:22

A bizarre dinosaur had vampire-like fangs, a parrot beak and porcupine bristles, researchers say.

The ancient creature, which was found 50 years ago in southern Africa but drew relatively little attention until now, may shed light on the evolution of the major group of dinosaurs that included famous giants such as Stegosaurus and Triceratops.

The 200-million-year-old dinosaur "was two-legged, probably fleet-footed, and had grasping hands," said researcher Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago.

Named Pegomastax africanus, or "thick jaw from Africa," it was less than 2 feet (0.6 meters) long and weighed less than a house cat at 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) at most, "and was mostly tail and neck," Sereno added.

Strangely, bristles somewhat like porcupine quills may have spread across most of the body of Pegomastax. Such bristles first appeared in a relative named Tianyulong recently discovered in China. Buried in lake sediments and covered by volcanic ash, Tianyulong was preserved with hundreds of bristles covering its body from its neck to the tip of its tail.

"It would have looked a bit like a two-legged porcupine, covered in these weird, funky, quill-like things," Sereno said of Pegomastax. "The bristles were not quite as strong as a porcupine's, and they don't look as if they were especially effective for insulation. Perhaps they had colors and helped differentiate species, or made Pegomastaxlook bigger than it actually was to potential predators."

Extending from its parrot-beaked skull, which was less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, were serrated canines a half-inch (0.8 cm) long from both its upper and lower jaws.

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#2 Detection

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 14:08

How do they know the head was shaped like that ?

This was a mystery that people thought was some weird test lab animal which turned out to be a dead Raccoon, but looking at its face you would think it had a beak

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#3 OP Hum

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 14:15

^ That's just what they want you to believe.

It's really a chicken/pig combo.

#4 SMELTN

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 14:15

how do we get Dracula out of this?

"Extending from its parrot-beaked skull, which was less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, were serrated canines a half-inch (0.8 cm) long from both its upper and lower jaws."

Dracula's "fangs" were just extending from the top only, which makes this more like a canine's teeth than Dracula.

#5 +Bryan R.

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 14:16

Surely no one knows for certain what it looked like but there is a difference between the two stories. The one of that washed up carcass was taken by the media and blown up as usual. This dinosaur I would hope was segregated from that nonsense and the conclusions they came up with are the best anyone could know.

#6 Zodiarck

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 14:23

The chupacabra has been found !!! :p

#7 SMELTN

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 14:39

The chupacabra has been found !!! :p


Thats what it reminds me of as well.

#8 zeta_immersion

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 16:05

^ That's just what they want you to believe. It's really a chicken/pig combo.


chicken/pig combo ... mmhhh .. sounds good, shall try it