Did you know that dinosaurs have so much in common with birds? Scientists claim that birds share many skeletal charachteristics with dinosaurs. Furthermore, the fact that fossils of more than 30 species of non-flying dinosaurs have been found with feathers, makes it possible that birds ancestors may have walked in four legs. Maybe the chickens that you have now in your hen coop, were a flock of triceratops million years ago. Today, we are gonna talk about a dinosaur which most certainly looked like a bird, a parrot to be specific. So let’s jump right into it and meet Psittacosaurus.
Psittacosaurus lived in Asia (China, Mongolia, Siberia and maybe Thailand) during the early Cretaceous Period about 110 million years ago. Many bone specimens of this genus have been unearthed at the dawn of 20th century, the first one was discovered in Mongolia and took the name “Psittacosaurus” by Henry Osborn in 1923. The name means “parrot lizard” and it is derived by the greek words psittakos which means parrot and sauros which means lizard.
This genus measured about 6.5 feet / 2 meters in length and weighted around 80 kg. The front region of it’s skull was shaped extremely similar to a parrot’s head and beak, as it’s upper jaw had a curving angle towards the lower jaw. Also, it’s beak contained no teeth. Try to imagine a creature, as tall as a male human with a parrot-like head, pretty hilarious, isn’t it? Psittacosaurus had 4 legs, each one of them consisted of 4 fingers. The front legs were shorter than the back legs, therefore it could use them as hand and walk only on it’s hind legs. It is estimated that our dinosaur could reach a speed of as high as 40 mph / 64 km/h. It’s high speed was the only way to survive a predator’s attack, as it’s body wasn’t equipped with protective features such as horns unlike other species like Ankylosaurus. Below we can see an Psittacosaurus robot while sleeping and how it may looked like.
Moreover, Psittacosaurus was a herbivorous animal, it used to eat grass and leaves from small bushes. The most strange thing about the diet of this dinosaur, is the fact that in the gut of a well-preserved specimen were found many small pebbles. This indicates that our dinosaur didn’t chew it’s food. Some Paleontologists also claim that Psittacosaurus was a swim-lover and used it’s legs and long tail to paddle through lakes and rivers, searching for food or escaping from it’s predators. It seems that on it’s tail some rooted hair-like strings existed, until today their function is unknown. The only sure thing is, that those hair-like strings, may looked like floating on the water surface just as aquatic plants do, while Psittacosaurus was swimming.
Finally, as always it wasn’t possible to close this article without watching a video presented from Matthew who introduces us the Psittacosarus figure. Enjoy the video below!
Thank you for your time, take care!