Psittacosaurus Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Psittacosaurus
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Psittacosaurus



dinosaur picture psittacosaurus

Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Ornithischia
  Suborder Cerapoda
  (unranked) Marginocephalia
  Infraorder Ceratopsia
  Family Psittacosauridae
  Genus Psittacosaurus
Psittacosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived in China, Mongolia and Siberia, during the early Cretaceous period, about 120 to 100 million years ago. The name Psittacosaurus was coined by Henry Fairfield Osborn and means "parrot lizard".

Psittacosaurus was about 8 feet (2.4 meters) long. It was bipedal (walked on two legs) and equipped with a powerful beak on its upper jaw. Psittacosaurus jaws were filled with self-sharpening teeth that would have been used for cropping and slicing plant material, but were unsuitable for chewing its food. The animal is known to have swallowed stones ("gastroliths") which would have helped wear down its food as it passed through its digestive system (probably in a similar manner to the gizzard in modern birds) - as many as 50 gastroliths have been found in the abdominal cavities of some specimens.

Fossils of at least 10 different species of Psittacosaurus have been found so far in China, Mongolia and Russia, plus a possible additional species from Thailand. In fact, in total fossils of over 400 individual animals have been collected so far, including many complete skeletons, and of every age from hatchling to adult, making it one of the most studied and best-known dinosaur genera.

One fossil specimen found in China was found to have what appear to have been hollow tubular bristles, each about 6 inches (16 centimeters) in a single row down its back and tail. The purpose of these structures are not certain, but one possibility is that they were used for display and communication. It is also not clear whether these (or similar) structures were found on all species of Psittacosaurus, or just on this one particular species.


Psittacosaurus Timeline:

Psittacosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 120 to 100 million years ago

Psittacosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 120 to 100 million years ago

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Psittacosaurus Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Psittacosaurus:
  1. Psittacosaurus was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Psittacosaurus" means "parrot lizard".

  3. Psittacosaurus was a member of the Ornithischia ("bird-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Psittacosaurus was not closely related to birds, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Psittacosaurus was a Ceratopsian - a member of a group of related herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaurs with beaks, many of which had neck frills and horns as well.

  5. Psittacosaurus lived between about 120 million years ago and 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.

  6. Psittacosaurus lived in China, Mongolia and Siberia.

  7. Psittacosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater).

  8. Psittacosaurus is thought to have swallowed stones which would have been used to help grind up tough plant material (some modern birds do the same thing). Fossils of these stones ("gastroliths") have been found in the same rocks as Psittacosaurus.

  9. Psittacosaurus was up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) long.

  10. Psittacosaurus weighed upto about 175 pounds (79 kilograms).

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