Introducing the oddest dinosaur yet, a vegetarian raptor

Chilesaurus diegosuarez. Image: Gabriel Lío

A new dinosaur from the family which includes the fierce carnivorous tyrannosaurs and velociraptors has been discovered with an unusual trait — it didn’t eat meat.

The researchers say the dinosaur from the Late Jurassic was discovered in the Toqui Formation in southern Chile.

It is a primitive kind of theropod, a herbivore and about three metres long, according to the journal Nature.

Theropod dinosaurs were the dominant predators in most areas during the Mesozoic era between 66 million and 252 million years ago. They went about on two legs and were almost always carnivores.

Fernando Novas from the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Argentina, and colleagues named the dinosaur Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, in reference to Chile and to honour Diego Suárez who at the age of seven found the first bone remains in the Toqui Formation.

The fossils reveal an unusual combination of features from various dinosaur groups, including relatively short arms, a long neck, small head and leaf-shaped teeth.

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