| 15.4°C Dublin

T Rex's vegetarian cousin baffles scientists

Fossil hunters in Chile have unearthed a strange new species of dinosaur that is unlike anything they have seen before.

The bizarre remains of the newly described Chilesaurus diegosuarezi combine a curious mixture of features from different prehistoric animals.

The ostrich-size dinosaur walked upright like a Tyrannosaurus rex but had the teeth of a more primitive long-necked plant eater.

"The interesting thing about this dinosaur is that different parts of it look very similar to unrelated dinosaurs," said Martin Ezcurra, a researcher at the University of Birmingham. 

Close

An artist's depiction shows the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi in this undated handout illustration provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Gabriel Lio/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters

ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

An artist's depiction shows the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi in this undated handout illustration provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Gabriel Lio/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

REUTERS

An artist's depiction shows the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi in this undated handout illustration provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Gabriel Lio/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

“It boasts such an unusual combination of traits, researched compared it to a platypus, the Australian egg-laying mammal with a duckbill.”

“The most interesting (aspect) about Chilesaurus is the story that it tells about how evolution works. It is like a combination of different dinosaurs in a single species," he added.

The evolutionary muddle of a beast ranks as one of the most remarkable dinosaur finds of the past 20 years.

“Chilesaurus constitutes one of the most bizarre dinosaurs ever found," said paleontologist Fernando Novas of the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires, calling the creature an evolutionary "jigsaw puzzle."

"The skeletal anatomy of Chilesaurus gathers characteristics of different dinosaur groups, like a floor is composed of mosaics of different shapes and colors. No other dinosaurs exhibit such a combination or mixture of features."

Chilesaurus lived in a region crisscrossed by rivers at the Jurassic Period's end, approximately 145 million years ago.

Close

Right jaw and teeth of the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Dr. Fernando Novas/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters

ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Right jaw and teeth of the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Dr. Fernando Novas/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

REUTERS

/

An artist's depiction of Chilesaurus diegosuarezi Credit: Gabriel Lio

Close

Right jaw and teeth of the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Dr. Fernando Novas/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters

ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Right jaw and teeth of the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Dr. Fernando Novas/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

REUTERS

Right jaw and teeth of the Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2015. Scientists have unearthed fossils of the strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying mammal from Australia with a duckbill. REUTERS/Dr. Fernando Novas/University of Birmingham/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Online Editors