If there is one dinosaur that’s near impossible to avoid in China it’s Psittacosaurus. Despite my general lack of interest in small ornithischians (compared only to other archosaurs really, don’t think I don’t like ‘em) I’ve seen dozens of these simply because they are so ubiquitous.
I’m not aware of any hard data on the subject, and it would be very difficult to collect, but I’d be surprised if Psittacosaurus were not the most numerous dinosaur in the fossil record. At the very least there are hundreds of recorded specimens in China and that also means there are likely hundreds more sitting unprepared, or uncatalogued in various collections or obscure provincial museums in addition to those collected in Mongolia and Tahiland, and the likely hundreds more that have been collected illegally. They certainly turn up with monotonous regularity at trade fairs and with fossil dealers, and in localities where they are present (and there are a great many of those) they are often by far the most common thing found. There are, in short, a lot of them.
It is therefore, probably only my lack of enthusiasm for them that has stopped me from covering this wee beastie before since the IVPP has at least a dozen specimens and several on display (though they have sneaked in here in the past). If noting else Psittcosaurus is unusual as we have lots of specimens from Lianoning as well as other sites, so you often see flat 2-D psittacosaurs and complete 3D ones.
Here are a few of the latter from the IVPP with both original material and casts being on display.
Share this Post