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Byronosaurus

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byronosaurus

Byronosaurus (Pavel Riha)

Name:

Byronosaurus (Greek for "Byron's lizard"); pronounced BUY-ron-oh-SORE-us

Habitat:

Deserts of central Asia

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (85-80 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 5-6 feet long and 10-20 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Moderate size; long snout with needle-like teeth

About Byronosaurus:

During the late Cretaceous period, central Asia was a hotbed of small, feathered theropod dinosaurs, including raptors and birdlike "troodonts." A close relative of Troodon, Byronosaurus stood out from the pack thanks to its odd, unserrated, needle-shaped teeth, which were very similar to those of proto-birds like Archaeopteryx (which lived tens of millions of years before). The shape of these teeth, and Byronosaurus' long snout, are a hint that this dinosaur subsisted mostly on Mesozoic mammals and prehistoric birds, though it may occasionally have gobbled up one of its fellow theropods. (Oddly enough, paleontologists have discovered the skulls of two Byronosaurus individuals inside the nest of an Oviraptor-like dinosaur; whether Byronosaurus was preying on the eggs, or was itself being preyed on by the other theropod, remains a mystery.)
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