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World's Newest Dinosaur Is... Small but Creepy

Illustration by Todd Marshall
Illustration by Todd Marshall

What is the world’s newest discovered dinosaur? Pegomastax africanus

One news outlet has described the new creature as a “two-foot long dinosaur with the beak of a parrot, teeth of a vampire and covered in some sort of bristly quill stuff.”

It’s name means “thick jaw from Africa” and scientists have grouped it into a class of small herbivores called heterodontosaurus. It looks like such a beast, albeit a small beast, that I was shocked to read “herbivore.” At around only 2 feet long, it still looks like it could terrorize small rodents, amphibians, and reptiles. Those fangs and quills! Alas, it preferred vegetation according to the experts. With those quills and fangs, there can't have been an awful lot of predators willing to take it on, though.

See the time-lapsed reconstruction of what scientists believed the vampire-cat-porcupine-lizard looked like.

This fascinating new dinosaur, discovered by University of Chicago palaeontologist Paul Sereno, had been in a drawer at Harvard University since the 1960’s and was recently carefully cleaned away from the rock in which he was hiding for around 200 million years. What else is lurking in those drawers?

To share more fun and educational dinosaur content with your students, check out the Dinosaur Train Field Guide.