Limusaurus (Greek for "mud lizard"); pronounced LIH-moo-SORE-us
Woodlands of China
Late Jurassic (160 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 5 feet long and 75 pounds
Unknown; possibly herbivorous
Small size; primitive beak with no teeth
Every now and then, paleontologists unearth a dinosaur that throws a big, looping curve ball into accepted dogma. That's what has happened with Limusaurus, a very early ceratosaur (a type of large theropod, or bipedal, meat-eating dinosaur) with a beaked snout and no teeth. What this almost certainly means (though not all paleontologists have accepted this conclusion) is that Limusaurus was a vegetarian, whereas virtually all other theropod genera (with the exception of some therizinosaurs and ornithomimids) are known to have subsisted on meat. As such, this relatively early (late Jurassic) ceratosaur may have represented a transitional form between earlier vegetarians and later carnivores.