Psittacosaurids or parrot-beaked dinosaurs, comprise a small group of herbivorous ornithischians, known only from Lower Cretaceous sediments of Asia, The psittacosaurus post cranium is remarkably primitive compared to other ornithischians, with hind limbs proportions of facultative biped.
The skull in contrast is highly modified, with tall, parrot-like snout, which is proportionately shorter than the snout of any other ornithischian. Psittacosaurids are the earliest ceratopsians, a group that would flourish in the Late Cretaceous in Asia and western North America.
Psittacosaurus was an herbivore, a plant eater. It probably ate plants like cycads and other prehistoric plants with its tough, hook-like beak. Psittacosaurus was mainly bipedal, but probably waddled on all fours when grazing. They may have also used their forelimbs to get food from bushes or tree branches.
It generally made its home near dry floodplains often near lakes that had abundant foliage Psittacosaurus lived in semi-arid conditions and needed strong jaw muscles to deal with the tough drought resistant vegetation that grew around there. The remains of this dinosaur were found in China and Mongolia.
Psittacosaurus may have been a herding animal, like some other ceratopsians, Psittacosaurus was mainly bipedal, but probably waddled on all fours when grazing. They also raised their young in a group. If attacked, the herd could stampede, or „circle the wagons” and fend off predators.
The large herbivores in herds that relied on horns and attitude to protect themselves Rival males used the parrot-like hook as weapons and may have stood side by side, jabbing at each other with the cheek spike until one yielded. The cheek spike may have caused pain, but not serious injury.
Birth & Offspring
The egg nests of a Psittacosaurus were laid in a circle and in a vertical position. Psittacosaurus eggs are oblong. The individual eggs are 3 to 5 inches long, and only 1 inch across. The eggshell was relatively thick for their small size indicative of the early Cretaceous period eggs.
Following the general rule that earlier period dinosaur eggshells were thicker than later period dinosaur eggs. Dinosaur eggs nests like found from the Psittacosaurus are most spectacular. Since the Pssitacosaruus were thought to be good parents (offspring fossils were found of hatchlings still in the nest.) the eggs were either heated by the sound or kept warm by the parents.
As few as seven to as many as 36 individuals in a group are in a clutch they will d stay together after hatching, The smallest specimen has a skull of 2.7 cm (1.1 inch) long and measure only 24.8 cm (9.8 inches) in length, making this the smallest dinosaur specimen ever found.
The Psittacosaurids had a mouth, nose and eyes. According to the information they needed all of their senses to keep away from predators, as well as, looking for food and stones.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.