Name: Pegomastax ‭(‬Strong jaw‭)‬.
Phonetic: Peg-o-mas-taks.
Named By: Paul C.‭ ‬Sereno‭ ‬-‭ ‬2012.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Heterodontosauridae,‭ ‬Heterodontosaurinae.
Species: P.‭ ‬africana‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore‭?
Size: Uncertain due to lack of remains,‭ ‬but estimated at around‭ ‬60‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: South Africa‭ ‬-‭ ‬Elliot Formation.
Time period: Hettangian to Sinemurian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skull,‭ ‬mandibles and predentary.

       When the description of Pegomastax was first publically released news headlines of‭ ‘‬Dracula dinosaur‭’ ‬and‭ ‘‬Fanged vampire parrot‭’ ‬soon flooded the internet.‭ ‬Pegomastax however seems to be one of the heterodontosaurid dinosaurs,‭ ‬and although some palaeontologists have speculated that these kinds of dinosaurs used their teeth to eat small prey like lizards and insects,‭ ‬others including Paul Sereno,‭ ‬the palaeontologist who described Pegomastix are of the opinion that heterodontosaurids were mostly if not exclusively herbivores.‭ ‬This means that the enlarged teeth of Pegomastax that look like vampire fangs were probably used for a combination of display as well as practical tools for uprooting plants.
       The holotype specimen of Pegomastax‭ (‬the fossils that the genus is described from‭) ‬were first collected in a‭ ‬1966-67‭ ‬expedition,‭ ‬yet it was not‭ ‬until‭ ‬1983‭ ‬that they first received any further attention when Sereno noticed them as being unusual looking.‭ ‬It would be almost another thirty years before Sereno was finally able to get round to studying these fossils due to other work commitments.‭ ‬To be fair though this work included heavy research and contributions to the discoveries of other African paleofauna of the Mesozoic including the predatory theropod dinosaurs Carcharodontosaurus and Suchomimus,‭ ‬the specialised sauropod Nigersaurus,‭ ‬the giant crocodile Sarcosuchus,‭ ‬as well as the‭ ‘‬boar croc‭’ ‬Kaprosuchus among many others.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬the type species of Pegomastax was originally written as P.‭ ‬africanus.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬africanus is feminine whereas the word mastax is actually masculine,‭ ‬something that led to the type species name being modified to africana,‭ ‬in order to be grammatically correct.

Further reading
Taxonomy,‭ ‬morphology,‭ ‬masticatory function and phylogeny of heterodontosaurid dinosaurs -‭ ‬P.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Sereno‭ ‬-‭ ‬2012.


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