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IT had a fanged beak, quills and a face only a mother could love. But this cat-sized dinosaur is causing a sensation among scientists.
The new species of plant-eating dinosaur (though you'd never believe it with those viscious fangs in its mouth) was recently found amid a collection of uncatalogued fossils dug up in southern Africa in the 1960s.
A bizarre covering of bristles, something like that of a porcupine, likely covered most of the body of Pegomastax, which measured less than two-feet in length and weighed less than a housecat. These bristles first came to light in a similar-sized heterodontosaur, Tianyulong, discovered recently in China and described in the study. Buried in lake sediment and covered by volcanic ash, Tianyulong preserves hundreds of bristles spread across its body from its neck to the tip of its tail.
A comparison by Asara's team of the amino-acid sequence from the T. rex collagen to a database of existing sequences from modern species showed it shared a remarkable similarity to that of chickens.
Using a variety of techniques, the researchers compared the T. rex and mastodon protein sequences with those of 21 living animals, including ostriches, chickens, and alligators.