New 'Chilesaurus' therapod was an adorable vegetarian

Researchers have added a new Jurassic dinosaur to the roster of known dinosaurs, and it was discovered back in 2004 by a 7-year-old boy. The boy and his parents were on a hike in Southern Chile when the boy — Diego Suarez — found a couple bones, which his parents identified as belonging to a dinosaur. It has been a long while since then, but a lot of progress has been made and that dinosaur now has a name: Chilesaurus diegosuarezi. The most interesting discovery is that despite being a theropod, the dinosaur preferred to eat plants rather than other animals.

More than one dinosaur fossil was discovered, and it was based on them that researchers developed their understanding of the new dinosaur species. You can see an artist's drawing of what the dinosaur may have looked like — according to the researchers, it was relatively small with a pair of back legs upon which it would balance.

The dinosaur had short arms with three fingers and two claws, and its skull was rather rounded with what were said to be "leaf-shaped teeth". Based on all of this, the researchers say the dinosaur only ate plants rather than the meat preferences many theropods preferred.

This dinosaur wasn't the only of its kind that ate plants, however; researchers have previously discovered other theropods that also ate plants. The Chilesaurus, however, may end up being the earliest herbivorous theropod thus far found. What isn't known at this point is why the dinosaurs began eating plant matter rather than meat.

VIA: Smithsonian