Dino-Rabbit Article

An artist's conception shows how Incisivosaurus might have looked in life, 128 million years ago.  Researchers were struck by the prominent, rodent-like teeth at the front of the upper jaw.

 A bucktoothed, rabbit-like dinosaur related to Tyrannosaurus Rex and other predators

 lived in China 128 million years ago, researchers report.  The fossil of the unusual

 Incisivosaurus was found in the Yixian formation near Beipiao City in northeast

 China, an area that has already produced many unusual fossils, including dinosaurs

 with feathers.


 Incisivosaurus is part of a group of dinosaurs known as oviraptors, small two-legged

 dinosaurs that had parrot-like beaks.  However, Incisivosaurus is the oldest oviraptor

 found to date and lacks the birdlike features found in others of its group.  Instead of

 having a beak, Incisivosaurus has a long skull and jaws filled with teeth for grinding. 

 Its most unusual characteristic are the two large buck teeth at the front of its jaw

 similar to those used by rodents for gnawing.  The buck teeth suggest the dinosaur

 was an herbivore rather than a meat-eater like its relatives.


 Other paleontologists said buck teeth alone do not mean Incisivosaurus was a plant-

 eater.  However, the discovery shakes up the traditional view of theropod dinosaurs,

 which are widely assumed to have long, sharp teeth.  “The classic view of predatory

 dinosaur (theropod) teeth is that they are all basically the same and are shaped more

 or less like serrated steak knives,” said geologist Joshua Smith of Washington

 University in St. Louis.  “However, it is becoming more and more obvious as we begin

 to look closely at theropod teeth that they are far more complex than we have been led to

 believe and that the steak-knife view isn’t accurate.  This is true of Tyrannosaurus and

 with new discoveries like Masiakasaurus last year in Madagascar and now Incisivosaurus

 in China, it is becoming apparent that it is true of other theropods as well.”

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