Tiny Dinosaur Creates Paleontology Puzzle

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If a dinosaur is small, how can you tell whether it died young or was just tiny?

This question has puzzled dinosaur experts studying the 3.3-foot-long dino Lesothosaurus diagnosticus, but the mystery may have just been solved.

Fabien Knoll, Kevin Padian and Armand de Ricqles studied the remains of Lesothosaurus and other fabrosaurid dinosaurs. (Maybe it's just me, but I like the fact that a scientist named Fabien studies fabrosaurids.) These were beaked, plant-eating bipedal dinosaurs that lived from the Early to Middle Jurassic Period.

The findings, published in this month's Gondwana Research, support the fact that some dinosaurs lived fast and died young. Another famous dinosaur in the Kurt Cobain-type group is Tyrannosaurus rex. Although T. rex was one of the planet's largest meat eaters, it too likely lived fast before biting the dust at a relatively young age- 28 or so.

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