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Did T-rex have a plant-eating relative?
News story originally written on October 4, 2002

It looks like the dinosaur family that included monstrous meat-eaters like Tyrannasaurus rex and raptors also contained a plant-eating dinosaur! Scientists have found evidence that a newly discovered species of dinosaur ate plants even though it had meat-eating relatives. The scientists named the new species of dinosaur that was discovered in Chinese rocks Incisivosaurus, because it has large front teeth called incisors.

Scientists can tell that Incisivosaurus ate plants by looking at its teeth. While its relatives had sharp dagger-like teeth for ripping through meat, Incisivosaurus had large front teeth and an overbite, like hamsters do today. Large areas of the dinosaurís teeth have been worn down which indicates that the upper and lower teeth made contact as the animal chewed, just like teeth do for plant-eating animals today. Also, Incisivosaurusí teeth donít have jagged serrations like those on the pointed teeth of its meat-eating relatives.

This new species of dinosaur was discovered in sediments that were laid down 129 million years ago in an area that is now northeast China. Other fossils found in the surrounding sediments indicate that the dinosaur lived in a forest environment filled with conifer trees and shrubs.

Last modified October 9, 2002 by Lisa Gardiner.

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