Named By: Paul C. Sereno - 2012.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Heterodontosauridae, Heterodontosaurinae.
Species: P. africana (type).
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.
the description of Pegomastax was first publically
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
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.
Taxonomy, morphology, masticatory function and phylogeny of heterodontosaurid dinosaurs - P. C. Sereno - 2012.