Duck-like dinosaur discovered in Mongolia

Duck-like dinosaur discovered in Mongolia

The remarkably complete fossil skeleton that paleontologists analysed indicates that this was likely a semi-aquatic dinosaur, able to both swim and to move about on land.

It tells Pascal Godefroy (Pascal Godefroit) from the Royal Institute for natural Sciences in Brussels (Belgium), fanciful discovery of illegal antiquities dealer was in the hands of scientists just two years ago, when its last owner, a paleontologist-a lover and collector of antiquities Escola Francois (Francois Escuillie), made a decision to return it to Mongolia and asked for professional paleontologists to classify it.

He added that Halszkaraptor had sickle-shaped "killer claws" on its feet similar to those of Velociraptor.

In the journal Nature, researchers have a chance to present the weird predator, named Halszkaraptor escuilliei or "Halszka" using Detailed 3D synchrotron analysis. Scientists have named it Halszkaraptor escuilliei in honor Askole and Polish archaeologist Galski Osmolskae (Halszka Osmolska), who discovered many dinosaurs in Mongolia at the end of the last century.

"When we look beyond fossil dinosaurs, we find most of Halszkaraptor's unusual features among aquatic reptiles and swimming birds". 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. In particular, researchers found that nearly all dinosaurs had feathers, and that many of them had sat on the eggs revealed the secrets of the color of the first birds and flight, and had several times to reshape their tree of evolution.

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"It's such a peculiar animal", said Dennis Voeten, a paleontology researcher at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. National Geographic reported that the dinosaur's long swan-like neck likely allowed it to strike unsuspecting prey, while its strong flipper-like limbs likely helped it kick powerfully through water.

Its mashup body let it run and hunt on the ground and fish in fresh water, said study co-author Paul Tafforeau.

"It combines different features from different groups of dinosaurs in an unexpected and freakish mix", said study lead author Andrea Cau, a palaeontologist at the Capellini Geological Museum in Bologna.

"Illicit fossil trade presents a great challenge to modern palaeontology and accounts for a dramatic loss of Mongolian scientific heritage", Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels reportedly said.

For this discovery, researchers used a scanning method that Cau described as "the most advanced scanning technology ever done on a fossil" to collect about 6,000 GB of data on the fossil while it was still partially embedded in rock. "This technique is now the most powerful and sensitive method to image internal details without damaging invaluable fossils", said Paul Tafforeau of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, another study co-author.

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