Psittacosaurus, Greek for “parrot lizard”, is quite a fitting name for the fossil you see before you. In fact, the reptilian Psittacosaurus were bipeds and had a robust beak. Imagine its movement, and you can see its similarity to a parrot.
When it comes to other similarities that it shares with birds, we cannot ignore its gizzard, an organ commonly found in many modern birds. Because the Psittacosaurus do not have suitable teeth for grinding plants, they swallow small stones known as gastroliths to assist digestion. Sometimes, more than fifty gastroliths can be found in their stomachs.
Psittacosaurus is one of the most completely known dinosaur genera currently discovered. More than 400 specimens have been excavated, allowing scientists to rapidly advance research on the genus. Owing to its wide distribution, they have been utilized as index fossils to determine geologic layers.