Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hello, Fruitadens

Paleontologist Luis Chiappe with F. haagarorum model, copyright AP

This week we were introduced to Fruitadens haagarorum, North America's smallest known dinosaur, a Jurassic ornithischian from the Fruita Paleontological Locality.

Fruitadens is a heterodontosaur, which are among the most basal members of the proud ornithischian family, which would also produce such classics as the duckbills, the ceratopsians, and the stegosaurs. It was likely an omnivore, an opportunistic feeder who would have eaten a variety of plants and critters. The fossils have been sitting around at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for thirty-some years, but were just recently identified and named.

I'd like to go on record as thinking that this little dude would look real cute with raccoon-like coloration. Seems fitting, doesn't it? Get on it, paleoartists.

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