A new species of dinosaur was discovered by a 7 year old boy, and experts say the prehistoric creature was a distant relative of the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, except it didn’t eat meat but was an herbivore.
The recently discovered dinosaur fossils belong to Chilesaurus diegosuarezi and the paleontologists nicknamed it the “platypus” of dinosaur world because of its weird body.
According to the experts, the dinosaur lived approximately 145 million years ago and its body and features were a mixture of differed dinosaur species.
It was a combination between a large carnivore and a big herbivore, at a much smaller scale.
The Chilesaurus diegosuarezi was described in details in the journal Nature.
The experts say that the new dinosaur, although sharing some features with its distant cousin, T. rex, was not as vicious.
Fernando Novas, a researcher at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires and the lead author of the study, explained that the Chilesaurus’s diet consisted mostly of different prehistoric plants, such as bennetitaleans, ferns, podocarps, araucarians and ferns.
All these species of plants grew abundantly at the end of the Jurassic period, said Novas.
The 7 year old boy who discovered the dinosaur fossils is Diego Suarez, the son of Manuel Suarez and Rita de la Cruz, two of the study’s authors.
The boy found the new species of dinosaur while he was looking for decorative stones at the Toqui Formation, located in Aysen, south of Chilean Patagonia.
The paleontologists explored the area and unearthed even more dinosaur fossils after the boy announced what he had found.
At first, the researchers thought the fossils belonged to different species, but then they discovered four complete skeletons that belong to the Chilesaurus.
According to the experts, the Chilesaurus was approximately 10 ft long and belonged to the theropod group of two-legged dinosaurs. This group includes some of the most iconic carnivorous dinosaurs, like the Velociraptor, the Tyrannosaurus and the Carnotaurus.
But instead of eating other animals, the Chilesaurus fed on plants.
Novas believes that the earliest species of theropods were carnivores and some of them later evolved into herbivores.
The Chilesaurus was not the only herbivore theropod. According to the experts, the Limusaurus was also a vegetarian, probably because of ecological pressures and due to the fact that plants grew abundantly in those prehistoric times.
The experts say that some theropod species of dinosaurs went on and evolved into birds, but the Chilesaurus did not have the same fate.
Novas said that the theropods that turned into herbivores went extinct in the end and did not leave any descendants that turned into carnivores.
Image Source: vocativ