'Frankenstein' dinosaur was a mash-up of meat eater and plant eater | Science News

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'Frankenstein' dinosaur was a mash-up of meat eater and plant eater

Bizarre theropod that roamed South America 150 million years ago may help answer evolutionary questions

11:00am, April 27, 2015

MIX AND MATCH  Fossils found in Chile reveal a new dinosaur species with a mishmash of anatomy — a little bit T. rex and a little bit Brontosaurus.

Frankensaurus did exist. But don’t worry — the sharp-clawed creature was a vegetarian.

Bones found in Chile reveal a bizarre new dinosaur that had a hodgepodge of anatomical features. Based on an ancestry that links it to Tyrannosaurus rex, Chilesaurus diegosuarezi should have been a meat eater, but preferred plants instead, researchers report April 27 in Nature. The discovery supports the idea that not all early T. rex relatives were out for blood and suggests that dinosaurs in nascent South America may have evolved differently than those on other continents.

“Chilesaurus is so unexpected, so drastically different than anything else we've seen before. It’s an anatomical Frankenstein,” says Lindsay Zanno of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

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