With killer claws this duck-like dinosaur ran, swam and tore prey to shreds

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A new dinosaur species uncovered by paleontologists sheds light on the amphibious lifestyle of a new raptorial dinosaur.

Scientists reported on Wednesday that 75-million-year-old species of “duck dinosaur” has been found  in Mongolia. According to paleontologists, this exceptionally well-preserved dinosaur skeleton  had a graceful, swan-like neck. However, it had  “killer claws” that could tear prey to shreds. It unites an unexpected combination of features.

In the journal Nature, researchers have a chance to present the bizarre predator, named Halszkaraptor escuilliei or “Halszka” using Detailed 3D synchrotron analysis.

Voeten and coauthors named this creature after the late Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmolska.

Found at Ukhaa Tolgod in southern Mongolia in a sandstone rock, the skeleton is only about 18 inches tall.

The research sheds light on an unexpected amphibious lifestyle for raptorial dinosaurs.This is exactly a new species of bird-like dinosaur. Most probably, during the Campanian stage of the Cretaceous, it had lived.

Like a penguin it had flippers, like an ostrich it walked and also it could swim. Newly found species has a bill like a duck and its teeth look like a crocodile’s. For a two-legged, meat-eating dinosaur, this is the first time swimming ability has been shown.

A paleontology researcher from Palacky University, D. Voeten said: “It’s such a peculiar animal, it combines different parts we knew from other groups into this one small animal.”

“A pretty crazy chimera: a swan neck and dinosaur body, but with a mouthful of tiny teeth and hands and feet that look like they might be good for swimming.” Paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers of Macalester College in Minnesota described the creature.

Study co-author Paul Tafforeau said that its mashup body let it run and hunt on the ground and fish in fresh water.

Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels said: “Illicit fossil trade presents a great challenge to modern paleontology and accounts for a dramatic loss of Mongolian scientific heritage.”

To study the fossil paleontologists used multi-resolution, X-ray microtomography. “This technique is currently the most powerful and sensitive method to image internal details without damaging invaluable fossils.” Paul Tafforeau added.

Thanks to this technique “We now demonstrate that raptorial dinosaurs not only ran and flew, but also swam.” said Andrea Cau of the Geological Museum Capellini in Bologna and lead author of the study.

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