A new dinosaur with nut-cracking jaws found in the Gobi desert ate like a bird—a parrot, to be exact.
The 3-foot-long (0.9-meter-long) Cretaceous creature had a boxlike skull and beaklike jaw that resemble those of modern parrots, which have beaks that can crack open nuts, a new study found.
The 110-million-year-old skull—as well as “a huge pile” of 50 stomach stones found with the fossil—suggests that the beast was chewing hard, fibrous nuts and seeds, the researchers say. Stomach stones are rocks ingested by some animals to grind food in their digestive systems.
The skull, found in the Gobi desert in Mongolia in 2001, once had giant jaw muscles attached to broad sheets of extremely rigid cheekbone, giving the animal a powerful bite.
Like a parrot, the dinosaur was able to move its jaws both vertically and horizontally, allowing it to “shear” tough plants.
If confirmed, Psittacosaurus gobiensis (“parrot dinosaur of the Gobi”) would be the world’s first known nut-eating dinosaur.
Source: National Geographic.