For the last 29 years, Paul C. Sereno, now a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, has known a secret: there was once a miniature dinosaur, about the size of an average house cat—except even bitchier and covered in quills. Today, he finally got around to telling the rest of the world about it.
Sereno first discovered fossilized evidence of the little guy, now being called Pegomastax africanus, in 1983 while studying at Harvard. Finally announcing his discovery in the journal ZooKeys today, he said “I’m embarrassed to say how many years ago that was.” He continued, “All the while since then, I wondered if anyone else might spot the creature hiding among the lab drawers.”
But Pegomastax was not a prehistoric ball of cute. Sereno says he could have been covered in sharp quills and “scampered around…like a nimble two-legged porcupine,” writes New York Times. Also, while apparently an herbivore, Pegomastax had some pretty gnarly front fangs “for nipping and defending themselves.”
So, thirty years and a remarkable discovery later, the rule of thumb still stands: Dinosaurs were ugly bastards.