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Unusual New Species of Dinosaur Identified

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the all-dinosaurs-are-currently-unusual dept.

Earth 49

cervesaebraciator writes "A new species of heterodontosaur, called Pegomastax, has been identified. Paul Sereno, a University of Chicago paleontologist, published a description of this species in a recent issue of ZooKeys. Although this diminutive (60 cm or less) species was herbivorous, it also possessed a set of sharp, stabbing canines in its parrot-shaped beak. Dr. Sereno holds that these canines where likely 'for nipping and defending themselves, not for eating meat.' Perhaps the most imaginatively intriguing aspect of all, the body of the Pegomastix might have been covered in porcupine-like quills, making for perhaps the least attractive dinosaur of all time. You can almost hear Dieter Stark screaming 'Helvetes jävlar!'"

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49 comments

nytimes.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41566547)

nytimes.com Durr durrrr dur

New? (1)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#41566561)

Wow, a new dinosaur. I thought they had been gone for many million years. Goes to show.

Re:New? (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 2 years ago | (#41566869)

New as in "previously unidentified" not as in "recently appeared".

Re:New? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#41570757)

Wow, a new dinosaur. I thought they had been gone for many million years. Goes to show.

New as in "previously unidentified" not as in "recently appeared".

It's also believed that this particular dinosaur could fly, and made a distinctive "whoooooooshing" noise as it flew past. (^_^)

Re:New? (1)

quenda (644621) | about 2 years ago | (#41575705)

I understood that most surviving dinosaurs can fly.

Anyone else see the picture... (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | about 2 years ago | (#41572863)

...and think: Skeksis?

Bless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41566569)

Yet more evidence to prove the existence of God. Wait, hang on...

Re:Bless (2)

Z34107 (925136) | about 2 years ago | (#41566603)

Surely if you can troll, an omnipotent, omniscient deity could troll as well. See also: the platypus, the kangaroo, and this dinosaur.

Re:Bless (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41566791)

You forgot Rosy O'Donnel dude. Just making sure you covered everything.

Re:Bless (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#41567151)

You forgot Rosy O'Donnel dude. Just making sure you covered everything.

Jurassic Pork.

Re:Bless (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41570369)

There were no homodontosaur's!

This story is Jurassic (0)

DSS11Q13 (1853164) | about 2 years ago | (#41566641)

as in really old, wtf

Det var som fan! (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#41566653)

Didn't remember Dieter's scream for help when he was attacked by a flock of small dinosaurs. Now I do. Thanks.

Still, by that time he was already the most hated guy in the movie anyway.

Re:Det var som fan! (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#41566657)

http://sv.bab.la/lexikon/svensk-engelsk/det-var-som [sv.bab.la]

Det var som fan.
I'll be damn.

Det var som fan!
Son of a bitch.

Det var som tusan.
I'll be dogged.

Det var som det var.
It was like that.

Det var som i en mardröm.
It was like a bad dream.

Det var som manna från himlen.
It was like manna from heaven.

Det var som att tiden stod still.
It was as though time had stopped.

Det var som ett riktigt äventyr.
It was like a real, live adventure.

Du kan sätta ner det var som helst.
You can set that down anywhere.

Det var som Albanien med neonljus.
It was like fucking Albania in neon.

Det var som jag alltid har misstänkt.
Just as I always suspected, Fogg.

Det var som något ur Caligula.
It was like something out of Caligula.

Det var som i första klass.
Then there was this time in first grade.

Och det var som att bli psykoanalyserad.
And it was like being psychoanalyzed.

Det var som om de inte såg att han var där.
They acted as if he wasn't even there.

Det var som att få Theresa tillbaka.
It was like Theresa had been brought back to me

Det var som att vara på en annan planet.
Monrovia itself was Iike being on another planet.

Det var som att, det här är min stund i ljuset.
It was, like, this is my time for shine.

Det var som om luften blev ett mullrande tåg.
And she said it was like a thunderous train of air.

Det var som om jag tittade på en film från den tiden.
It was as if I was watching a film from those times.

Skeksis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41566671)

You're next, little Podling!

Re:Skeksis? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41568965)

Ah! So you're the other person who saw the Dark Crystal!

Evolutionary lesson (0)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#41566689)

FTFS: "A new species of heterodontosaur, called Pegomastax, has been identified. (...) Pegomastix might have been covered in porcupine-like quills, making for perhaps the least attractive dinosaur of all time."

Being hetero is not an effective species survival strategy if you're not attractive!

Re:Evolutionary lesson (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41566765)

a homodontosaur called pedomaster

Re:Evolutionary lesson (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567067)

The "hetero" and "dont" in the name refers to the characteristic thing about this group: the fact they have two very different types of teeth, one kind that is an array of chisel-shaped teeth used for grinding up plants, and a set of bizarre tusk-like teeth in the front that have always been a bit of a puzzle for a plant eater. If you read the paper, it reviews the whole group of them. A pretty strange bunch, not only Pegomastix.

Re:Evolutionary lesson (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41569041)

Don't wild boars also have tusk-like and grinding teeth? They could be used for digging, or cutting away bark or husks, or perhaps these critters also had a taste for blood as well as sap. They could have been omnivorous.

Re:Evolutionary lesson (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#41567087)

A homodontosaur might not be any more attractive, but at least he'd be more stylish.

Re:Evolutionary lesson (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 years ago | (#41567129)

Er a homodontosaur isn't likely to reproduce, and would quickly go extinct.

Must be unique (2)

garryknight (1190179) | about 2 years ago | (#41566803)

"stabbing canines in its parrot-shaped beak"

Now that's got to be really unusual: a beak shaped like a parrot...

Re:Must be unique (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#41567119)

"stabbing canines in its parrot-shaped beak"

Now that's got to be really unusual: a beak shaped like a parrot...

Can he talk?

Interesting Hypothesis (5, Interesting)

djl4570 (801529) | about 2 years ago | (#41566845)

Every time I read about a new species of dinosaur I keep this documentary in mind: A Third of Dinosaur Species Never Existed? [nationalgeographic.com]

Many dinosaurs may be facing a new kind of extinction—a controversial theory suggests as many as a third of all known dinosaur species never existed in the first place.
That's because young dinosaurs didn't look like Mini-Me versions of their parents, according to new analyses by paleontologists Mark Goodwin, University of California, Berkeley, and Jack Horner, of Montana State University.

The documentary makes a compelling case that juvenile examples of various species have been misidentified as a separate species of dinosaur.

Re:Interesting Hypothesis (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#41567293)

This seems commonsensical not just for paleontology but anthropology as well.

IANAA (I am not an anthropologist) but I've never understood how someone finds a chunk of bone that's 1/8 of a intact jawbone, and from that intuits that this is an entirely new species of hominid? The breathtaking breadth of natural human variation is apparent to anyone in a large crowd; how is some minute morphological difference of a FRACTION of a piece of bone suggestive enough that it reaches beyond that variation into indicating speciation?

Or, my cynic gland suggests, is it that anthropologists are fallible humans like the rest of us, and it's much more exciting, rewarding, and fame-creating to identify a potential new species, particularly when there is very little evidence that might contradict your assertion?

Re:Interesting Hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567351)

You don't get funding for finding a jawbone with slight malformation on the lower left side.
You do get funding for finding a a species with bulging jaw bone probably used as secondary sexual characteristics.

Re:Interesting Hypothesis (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567901)

There's two aspects to this:
1) if you've got morphological/statistical variation well outside of the norm on the part that you do have, then, yes, it may be justification for proposing a new species. Teeth, in particular, are highly diagnostic fossils, and whole new species are routinely described on that basis. You wouldn't do the same on the basis of, say, a single bit of finger bone;
2) every species proposed is a hypothesis about differences from other species. If you find more of the creature (more of the skeleton and/or more individuals), then you test out whether it really is distinct. If it turns out it isn't, then you synonymize [wikipedia.org] the species (merge them together).

This is no different from any other science where you make a hypothesis, test it with new evidence, and if it doesn't hold up, you toss it. But people won't even notice something might be different if you just lump any and all variation together with everything else that has been described. In short, if a proposal for a new species isn't legitimate it will come out in the wash eventually as people study more and more specimens, and every compilation of species at a given moment is a work in progress. It's the same whether you're talking about fossil dinosaurs or fossil hominids. The particular paper in question is a large review of all the heterodontosaurid dinosaurs. While some might be juveniles of other species of heterodontosaurids, most of them are quite distinct if you look at the details of their anatomy, and the new species that's been proposed is quite different. The chances it could be a juvenile of one of the other ones is pretty slim.

The idea that a third of all described dinosaur species may be unrecognized juveniles is a bit ridiculous. Some, yeah, that's possible, but 10% would be more plausible. The challenge is, you have to *show* that's the case, not merely speculate about it as a possibility. That takes a bunch of specimens at various growth stages, and it takes time to turn them up and analyze them. Paleontologists do toss species when the evidence is there to justify it. It's not expected that each and every species ever proposed is forever regarded as correct.

This is exactly what's happening. (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#41569681)

The idea that a third of all described dinosaur species may be unrecognized juveniles is a bit ridiculous

I'm assuming you haven't investigated the phenomena being discussed.

Mammals and reptiles both tend to develop in a continuous fashion - infants look much like miniature adults, and a juvenile will look like a blending of the infant and adult forms. Many birds on the other hand do NOT develop in this fashion - a not-quite-adult Hornbill for example looks much like an almost-adult-sized infant, it's not until it reaches full maturity that it's skull undergoes a dramatic morphological change to acquire the "horn" that gives it its name. If you only ever saw their skeletons you would likely conclude that the juvenile and adult were both adults of completely different species. Moreover if you only had a few samples you'd likely assume that skeletons of intermediate stages of skull transformation represented several other species.

One possible way of detecting this sort of error is examining internal bone texture - infants typically have much more porous bones than adults, with juveniles falling somewhere in between. Doing this for several similar dinosaur species has revealed a trend where whole "families" of species show a correlation between bone texture and skull shape, strongly suggesting that they may in fact be different developmental stages of the same species.

Re:Interesting Hypothesis (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#41576327)

"...This is no different from any other science where you make a hypothesis, test it with new evidence, and if it doesn't hold up, you toss it...."

Except that upon finding a new metorite, astronomers don't speculate that there's an entirely new planet they 'just haven't found yet'.

I appreciate your points, but it seems that there's a level of hyperbole in the declaration of new speciation that exceeds mere scientific method.

Re:Interesting Hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567907)

W. HOWELLS, Harvard, "A great legend has grown up to plague both paleontologists and anthropologists. It is that one of ; men can take a tooth or a small and broken piece of bone, gaze at it, and pass his hand over his forehead once or twice, and then take a sheet of paper and draw a picture of what the whole animal looked like as it tramped the Terriary terrain. If this were quite true, the anthropologists would make the F.B.I. look like a troop of Boy Scouts.", MANKIND SO FAR, p. l38

Re:Interesting Hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567421)

Here is a nice video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQa11RMCeSI

Re:Interesting Hypothesis (1)

lsatenstein (949458) | about 2 years ago | (#41579065)

Every time I read about a new species of dinosaur I keep this documentary in mind:
A Third of Dinosaur Species Never Existed? [nationalgeographic.com]

Many dinosaurs may be facing a new kind of extinction—a controversial theory suggests as many as a third of all known dinosaur species never existed in the first place.
  That's because young dinosaurs didn't look like Mini-Me versions of their parents, according to new analyses by paleontologists Mark Goodwin, University of California, Berkeley, and Jack Horner, of Montana State University.

The documentary makes a compelling case that juvenile examples of various species have been misidentified as a separate species of dinosaur.

==========
Did you ever consider that with global warming, with the seas rising, that we are facing another meltdown (or boilup), similar in consequences to the ice age?

Wooww Perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41566877)

Perfect "A new species of heterodontosaur thank you

http://www.gencmuzik.tk

Parrot-shaped beak? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41566909)

It has a beak shaped like a parrot?

"least attractive" (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41566953)

Sorry to nitpick, but I think the less politically correct "Ugliest" is better than rating the "attractiveness" of a dinosaur, or for any animal for that matter.

Misread summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41566963)

stabbing canines in its parrot-shaped beak

I thought: that's a good reason not to let Fido out of the cave.

Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567015)

Who is Dieter Stark?

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567089)

What is Google?

Herbivore with sharp teeth? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41567115)

So it is a herbivore, but all of its teeth are like those of a meat eater?
Yay right.

Science bullshit? (1)

JakeBurn (2731457) | about 2 years ago | (#41567207)

"Another possible characteristic of the new species, Dr. Sereno said, is that its body might have been covered in quills, something like those of a porcupine. If so, he pictured that in life Pegomastax would have scampered around in search of suitable plants, looking something like a “nimble two-legged porcupine.” http://bioteaching.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/img0.jpg [wordpress.com] I love reading about dinosaurs but its hard to consider some paleontologists serious when they decide to just make shit up to make their discoveries more interesting.

Re:Science bullshit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567947)

I know... all the assumptions... watch a documentary watch the graphics, same assumptions. Who the fuck gives them the right to DECLARE that dinosaurs moved at a certain speed. As long as we are on what if's, what if dino muscle was half as thick, twice as strong, and half the mass? Why not? Oh because your funding doesn't allow it... Same goes for bone. You do understand that what you are looking at is only a secondary or tertiary mineral deposition of the original material, don't you? Poor excuses is all we will get from you fucktards. Why the fuck can you declare dinosaurs moved at at certain speed based on how current lizards move. Who the fuck do you think you are? Suddenly we have evolution, but not really, because everything is the same, but different, for millions of years. Go fuck yourself. Here's my theory... All dinosaurs were hermaphrodite faggots, moved at twice the speed of light, and only died out because they ran out of lube. Really that's what "scientists" want me to believe with the "big bang", "evolution", and every other politically motivated science project. Who the fuck cares about evidence? I read it in a book somewhere so it must be true. Dr. Faggot just got a big grant from the U.S government, that makes him smarter than everyone else, and he is never wrong.

Herbivore with tusks? (2)

kbahey (102895) | about 2 years ago | (#41568111)

Herbivore with tusks? That is unheard of!

They [wikipedia.org] definitely [wikipedia.org] do not [wikipedia.org] exist.

DId Jesus see one? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#41569469)

I wonder if Jesus ever saw one of these?

Re:DId Jesus see one? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#41570959)

I wonder if Jesus ever saw one of these?

It's unlikely, as Jesus [google.co.uk] is of a species [wikipedia.org] that only appeared in the late Cretaceous period [wikipedia.org] , whereas Pegomastax [wikipedia.org] (the "new" dinosaur) was found in rocks associated with the early Jurassic [wikipedia.org] period.

I mean, they might have met, but the Pegomastax would have been really, really, *really* old by that time, and too set in his ways to accept this newfangled whippersnapper and his newfangled religion.

Maybe I'm picking nits here (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41570909)

... but doesn't a new species of dinosaur sound a little far-fetched?

There is one dinosaur species to be named. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#41570971)

It is the group of individuals who believe in "America, Rebecoming The Great Nation We Once Weren't". Wonder what we can call them? Republicanodon? Republicanosarus?

A use for the teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41573291)

The inside of the beaks of parrots and many other birds has a file-like surface that is used for grinding down food. Maybe the teeth could be an older form of that surface?

How obscure can we get? (1)

pongo000 (97357) | about 2 years ago | (#41574377)

You can almost hear Dieter Stark screaming 'Helvetes jÃvlar!'"

Huh?

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