A primitive ceratopsian (horned dinosaur), Psittacosaurus lived in East Asia during the Early Cretaceous, around 125 - 100 million years ago. Its remains have been found in Russia, Mongolia and China (for example in the Yixian Formation), and about 10 different species within the genus Psittacosaurus are currently recognized. Over 400 fossilized individuals of the genus have been found, making it one of the most scientifically well known dinosaurs.
Psittacosaurus varied in size from species to species, but measured around 2 metres long on average. Adult individuals were bipedal. Studies of the scleral rings in the eye sockets of this dinosaur indicate that it was active both at night and during the day at short intervals.
Psittacosaurus fed mainly on plants, specializing in tough vegetation with its powerful beak and self-sharpening teeth. Gastroliths (gizzard stones) were used to grind the plant matter.
Most of its skin was covered in irregular large scales with smaller scales in the spaces between them. However, a row of strange quills ran along the top of its tail. The function of these quills is unknown, though they are thought to have been for display.
After analyzing the melanosomes in the fossilized skin of an exceptionally well preserved specimen, scientists announced the discovery of the true colouration and patterning of Psittacosaurus in September of 2016. It was mostly dark in colour with a lighter underbelly, and very dark markings around its face, shoulders and cloaca. It is currently
For further information, see this article: www.theguardian.com/science/20…
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