I’ve chosen another relatively new dinosaur this week, the Chilesaurus. It’s been called a ‘platypus’ dinosaur because of the combination of characteristics that comprise it. It is the T-Rex’s smaller, vegetarian cousin. Discovered in Chile in 2004, the Chilesaurus is a therapod like the T-Rex and Raptors. It had the characteristic short arms but it lacked the wicked claws, instead bearing two stumpy fingers on each hand.
The Chilesaurus lived in the late Jurassic period about 145 million years ago in South America. It likely measured around 10 1/2 feet from nose to the tip of the tail which is smaller than you would think as that tail likely took up a great deal of that length. To me, I think that would basically be like a bipedal Komodo Dragon who happened to go vegetarian. In dinosaur terms, it was pretty small but in modern terms, that small is still pretty large.
The Chilesaurus is considered an excellent example of convergent evolution which is an incredibly interesting topic all on it’s own.
Convergent Evolution: when particular traits evolve in more than one species or in more than one place in response to external conditions. For example, the three species of freshwater dolphin in India, China, and the Amazon, who are not related by DNA. They all evolved into freshwater dolphins independently of one another. In the reptile world, we have Tegus and Monitor lizards who are not related but resemble each other in a multitude of ways, diet, habitat, overall structure.