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The First Parrot Dinosaur by Qilong The First Parrot Dinosaur by Qilong
Psittacosaurus mongoliensis, the very first "parrot lizard," is based primarily on two skeletons from Mongolia. The smaller of the two, with a complete skull, is a subadult and certainly younger and less complete than the larger (which was originally named Protiguanodon mongoliense). Despite this, it is the larger of the two specimens, in connection with the younger's skull (seen here) that forms most people's impression of this species. The odd thing is, the second specimen lacks a decent skull entirely, although it preserves a far more complete tail.
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Miyess Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2010   Digital Artist
Which species of Psittacosaurus had the tail quills, was it P. mongoliensis? Do you think it’s safe to assume all species of Psittacosaurus shared this feature – maybe even all ceratopsians...? I heard of an unpublished specimen of Triceratops mummy with a row of scales running down the back & tail with hollow centres – possibly the base structures of quills similar to those of Psittacosaurus?
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2010
The specimens (there are more than one now) with tail quills come from the Jiufotang Formation; from this area, only two taxa have been named: Psittacosaurus meileyingensis and Psittacosaurus mongoliensis; Xu argued earlier and Mayr et al. described based on some features,t hat the exact identity of these fossils are imprecise, and that it may represent a new taxon based on some skeletal features, and simply refer to it as Psittacosaurus sp.

As for how broadly to interpret tail quills ... that's a matter of some debate. Some argue that their presence in Tianyulong confuciusi means you can give them to all basal ceratopsians up to psittacosaurs, while others say you should limit them to just those two taxa (an even smaller group have suggested that Tianyulong confuciusi is a chimera of a psittacosaur and a heterodontosaur, which has no evidence so far). If Tianyulong confuciusi is a heterodontosaur, it implies most basal marginocephalians might have had the quills, but as for how far into ceratopsians you apply these ... it's up to you.
Afrovenator Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010
Great to seen an updated version of this species! Fantastic work! :)
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2010
Yeah, it was about time people used the holotypes a little more, especially when the only thing they tended to illustrate of it was the skull!
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July 21, 2010
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