Psittacosaurus Click to enlarge image
Image: James Reece
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    sinensis
    Genus
    Psittacosaurus
    Family
    Psittacosauridae
  • Feeding Habits
    herbivore
  • View Fossil Record
    Fossil Record
    Cretaceous Period
    (141 million years ago - 65 million years ago)

Introduction

Psittacosaurus sinensis was a small, herbivorous dinosaur which lived around 110 million years ago. It is the most primitive known ceratopsian dinosaur. It was named after the Latin word for parrot, Psittacus, as it had a parrot-like beak.

Feeding and diet

Psittacosaurus sinensis was a plant-eater that had:

  • a curved, parrot-like beak that helped it to pry open fruits and seeds
  • a cutting beak and self-sharpening cheek teeth that enabled it to grind up tough vegetation and fruits
  • short forelegs that it used for grasping foliage.

Evolutionary relationships

Psittacosaurus sinensis was a primitive horned dinosaur or ceratopsian. It belonged to the Asian family Psittacosauridae, several species of which lived during the Early Cretaceous.