The researchers next compared the dinosaur's color patterns to the predicted countershading. The results suggest that Parrot Lizard lived in a habitat with a relatively dense canopy, such as a forest.
"We were amazed to see how well these color patterns actually worked to camouflage this little dinosaur," Vinther said.
Parrot Lizard, which Cuthill describes as "both weird and cute, with horns on either side of its head and long bristles on its tail," lived 100-123 million years ago in the early Cretaceous period, in China. Other feathered dinosaurs have been found at the now rocky site where Psittacosaurus was discovered. Plant and wood fossils found in the area support the scientists' belief it was once a forest environment.
Dino species closely related to Parrot Lizard were not forest dwellers, however. They lived in a Mongolian savannah and possibly in other types of habitats. Vinther and his team suspect that those little dinosaurs would have sported different camouflage patterns to match their surroundings.
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