Museum Frankfurt


Psittacosaurus mongolensis

Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Cerapoda
Infraorder: Marginocephalia
Diet: plants
Weight:    approx. 25 kilogrammes
Length: approx. 1-2 metres
Age: 120-97 Millionen Jahre (Lower Cretaceous)
Fossil site: Liaoning province (China)
at Senckenberg: original and reconstruction of the entire corpus


In our dinosaur exhibition, you will find an internationally unique discovery of a Psittacosaurus. It was dissected during month of work at the Senckenberg Museum and shows the unique state of preservation of fossils from Liaoning (China). The skeleton is completely intact with skin shade, stomach contents, and imprints of horny structures.
The exhibited original shows the cheek spines that are so typical for this dinosaur. Perhaps these spines were more pronounced in the male animals. Most spectacular of all are the long bristles on the upper side of the tail, which were first described in this specimen, and are so far unique. The reconstruction, which was created especially for the exhibition at the Senckenberg, is the result of an intensive, months-long collaboration between scientists and taxidermist.
Psittacosaurus had a curved beak that resembles a parrot's beak. A series of well-developed teeth grew in the rear jaw. Although Psittacosaurus shares these features with Protoceratops and Triceratops and belongs with them to the superfamily of Ceratopsid (horn-faced) , it did not grown any neck plates.
The first Psittacosaurus from Mongolia was described already in 1923. Psittacosaurus could become one
of the most commonly found dinosaurs today. Recent discoveries from Liaoning show that mammals also hunted dinosaurs occasionally. The about 45-cm-long mammal Repenomamus verifiably captured young Psittacosaurus. But it is likely that the young were usually well guarded by watchful parents. Another specimen of an adult Psittacosaurus with 34 juveniles shows that the members of a group had lost their lives together in a sudden natural disaster.

Gift of Karl and Maria Schack aswell as Erika and Walter Datz Foundation

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