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New Cat-Sized, Veggie-Eating Dinosaur Discovered By Paul Sereno

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Pegomastax Africanus (Credit: University Of Chicago)

Pegomastax Africanus (Credit: University Of Chicago)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Dinosaur hunter Paul Sereno has uncovered a new species–a cat sized vegetarian with teeth like a dog.

The University of Chicago professor makes most of his dinosaur finds digging in the rock and sand of Africa, the United States and South America.

However, he found Pegomastax Africanus while digging through specimens stored in a library at Harvard.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports

Sereno told WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody, others have collected and examined the bones, but he was fortunate to recognize the fact that the bones represented a brand new species.

He says Pegomastax was chipped out of red rock in southern Africa in the 1960s.

Sereno says Pegomastax had a short parrot-shaped beak up front, a pair of stabbing canines, and tall teeth at the back of the jaw for slicing plants.

The parrot-shaped skull, less than three inches long, may have been adapted to eating fruit.

Some scientists argued that the canine teeth showed meat or insects were part of the diet for Pegomastax.

But Sereno says microscopic examination of the teeth suggested they were more for display and maybe defensive nipping, than actually cutting or tearing as would be expected from a carnivore.

He said they would have scampered around searching for veggies, looking like a two-legged porcupine.

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