Pegomastax africanus was a tiny dinosaur having vampire-like fangs , being 2-foot-long (0.6-meter-long) as a heterodontosaur and living about 200 million years ago.
P. africanus species were "scampering around between the toes of other dinosaurs at the dawn of the dinosaur era," declared Paul Sereno, a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence.
Being covered with porcupine-like quills and sporting a blunt as a parrot , P. africanus seemed to be a "strange little bird," noted Sereno.
Its fangs were more like those of the pig like peccary or fanged deer, or like plant-eating mammals using their teeth for self-defense and foraging, Sereno declared.
The scientist said that P. africanus species would have lived along forested rivers in southern Africa in the period when this continent belonged to the super continent Pangaea,which split into landmasses long time ago.
Reassembling P. africanus' jaw and teeth ,Sereno compared the reconstruction of jaws and teeth with modern plant-eating mammals having fangs.
Sereno concluded that P. africanus' fangs were very similar to those of fanged deer and peccaries, which use their fangs in self-defense and competition for mates.
The researcher declared that the cheek teeth in P. africanus' upper and lower jaws worked like self-sharpening scissors for shearing plants.
Hans-Dieter Sues, a vertebrate paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. was impressed that Sereno "worked out how these dinosaurs chewed their food, which helps understand their peculiar, molar-like teeth."
Sereno suggested that P. africanus' sophisticated jaw structures evolved millions of years later in mammals.