Credit: Gabriel Lío
By Laura Geggel
A relative of Tyrannosaurus rex didn’t share the infamous carnivore’s appetite for meat, a new study finds. Instead, the newly discovered 9.8-foot-long (3 meters) dinosaur munched on plants about 145 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period.
The new species is a member of the theropod group, which consists of mostly carnivorous dinosaurs and includes not only T. rex but also the fearsome Velociraptor. The newfound “bizarre herbivorous” creature looked like a mixture of a plant-grazing, long-necked sauropodomorph; an herbivorous beaked ornithischian; and a meat-eating theropod, the study researchers said.
“When I saw all the fragmented bones laying on the table, I thought all of them belonged to different dinosaur lineages,” said the study’s lead researcher, Fernando Novas, a researcher at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “That dinosaur is spectacular and bizarre because it combines different features belonging to these three main groups of dinosaurs.”
Researchers uncovered the curious fossils in 2010. The observant 7-year-old son of two geologists spotted a few dinosaur vertebrae during an expedition with his family in Aysén, a region in southern Chile. The researchers named the new dinosaur Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, in honor of Chile and the boy, Diego Suárez.
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