Not often in this line of work do you get a press release titled “Opening All-Purpose Dinosaurs”, but there is a specially stored Psittacosaurus specimen, For the first time, officially recognized as the owner of the multi-faceted butt orifice known as the cloaca.
Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom published the findings in the journal Current Biology. The 120-million-year-old specimen was discovered in northwestern China and is on display today at the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History in Frankfurt, Germany. Psittacosaurus is one of the vegetarians associated with Triceratops, and this particularly well-preserved specimen has been the subject of much research into the coloring of primitive feathers and these dinosaurs.
For the first time, however, the specimen has become a subject of interest in opening her genitals. Notably, this soft tissue structure is still visible above the fossil and is seen as a black fragmented region below the tail. The researchers say that non-avalanche dinosaurs do not have enough sexual dimorphic features to make sexual predictions, but the structure of the cloacae bears a resemblance to that of conventional crocodiles, giving us some insight into their functionality and even how these dinosaurs came together.
Vertebrate penis and copulatory systems expert Dr. Diane Kelly, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in a statement, “Indeed, they are quite non-descriptive. We’ve found that the vent looks different in different groups of tetrapods, but in most cases, it doesn’t tell you much about the sex of any animal.” “These distinctive features have been fragmented inside the clock and unfortunately, they are not preserved in these fossils.”
Some crocodile mice have olfactory glands that sit close to their genitals, which researchers suspect may be visible in pituitary cortex specimens as two large, pigmented lobes on either side of the clitoris. Pigmentation with melanin is a feature found in the genitals of conventional baboons and breeding salamanders, two species are known to employ potential mate in their private parts when displaying and signaling. It is possible, the researchers say, that the club of Psittacosaurus could play a role in following the herbivores of the vegetable in its better days.
Dr. Jakob Vinther from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences told IFLScience, “With just a cloak from any endangered dinosaur, we can see that it is a modern crocodile and the only living dinosaur that can be compared to a bird.”
“It looks a bit like a crocodile’s cloaca, but it’s unique in many ways. We can see that the cloaca was visually striking with the melanin pigment and so it could flash its back edge during the wedding-court. , That is, we see in living crocodiles and dinosaur cloaca body structures may also be suitable for such internal glands.”
A cloaca is a wonderful thing. As seen today in birds, reptiles, amphibians, some fish, and monochromatic animals, these one-size-fits-all genetic structures aid digestion, reproduction, and the passage of urine. Is there a serious oversimplification of the complex excrement requirements of living things or a convenient alternative to managing messier aspects of survival? The jury is still out.
So what’s next for the world’s first discovery? Vinther said, “Since this is the first and only cloaca described, we just have to sit tight until the next fossil appears.” “That may not be for another 100 years, though.”