We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Chilesaurus: The One That Went Vegan

Even though it was a cousin of meat-eaters, this 10-foot lizard favored plants.

By Gemma Tarlach
Nov 30, 2015 6:00 AMNov 12, 2019 6:45 AM
Chad Edwards


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Discovering one of South America’s most intriguing dinosaurs was child’s play: Diego Suarez was just 7 when he found the first fossils of the 145-million-year-old herbivore that would bear his name, Chilesaurus diegosuarezi. The hard work began when paleontologists tried to fit it into the dinosaur family tree. Chilesaurus, which grew to about 10 feet long, has a previously unseen mix of primitive and advanced skeletal features. After analyzing fossils from more than a dozen specimens, researchers reported in April in Nature that the herbivore was actually a kinder, gentler cousin of such bitey carnivores as T. rex and Velociraptor. Chilesaurus is a rare example of a species from the generally predatory theropod group that evolved into a plant-eater.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.