Psittacosaurus

psittacosaurus (7)

Distribution:

Psittacosaurus roamed areas of modern-day Asia, particularly China and Mongolia.

Time Period:

These dinosaurs lived during the early Cretaceous period, 123-100 million years ago which was the third and final segment of the Mesozoic Era. Until this era the continents which exist today were fused into one continent called Pangaea and there was one huge ocean which surrounded it. Although Pangaea had already begun to separate during the previous periods, the Cretaceous period saw the super continent separate across the Earth’s surface. This change caused the climate to slowly cool and the continents and oceans familiar to us today first started to take form. The era ended with the mass extinction of all dinosaurs after an asteroid hit the Earth.

Size:

They were 2 meters (6.5ft) long, 1 meter (3ft) high and weighed 20kg (44lbs)

Diet:

Psittacosaurus was a herbivore which could eat almost all plants with its sharp beak.

Interesting facts:

Psittacosaurus was a distant relative of triceratops. They shared the same ancestor, Yinlong downsi. With a total of eleven different species, the psittacosaurus genus is the most species rich dinosaur genus discovered to date. The meaning of their name is ‘parrot lizzard’ and was given to them by Henry Fairfield Osborn, the same man who named the tyrannosaurus rex.

As hatchlings they were very strong crawlers who would have used all four legs to walk. However, once fully grown they preferred to be upright on just their hind legs. Their beak-like mouth was ideal for cracking open nuts, seeds and fruits. However, they couldn’t chew or digest these types of food properly by them self, so they swallowed stones. This would help to break them up in its stomach. It may have been a strong swimmer because it had large feet and thick tail. These would have given them great propulsion in the water if they ever went in.