Duck, Duck, Dinosaur! Meet Halszkaraptor, A Mongolian Mash-Up

No, not an escapee from a Island of Dr. Moreau. It's Halszkaraptor escuilliei, a newly described dinosaur with an surprising multiple of traits. (Credit Lukas Panzarin)

No, not an escapee from a Island of Dr. Moreau. It’s Halszkaraptor escuilliei, a newly described dinosaur with an surprising multiple of traits. (Credit Lukas Panzarin)

If it looks like a duck…it competence be a extraordinary new dinosaur, Halszkaraptor escuilliei. The Mongolian maniraptor is a swig to contend and a, uhm, excellence to behold. But a many engaging thing about it is how it apparently lived.

Fossiliferous Mongolia has given dinosaur enthusiasts a trove of discoveries over a years, from a hauls taken in during a escapades of Roy Chapman Andrews behind in a day to some-more new pivotal finds, such as scarcely finish skeletons of Deinocheirus mirificus, once famous usually from a huge arms. But wait, there’s more: a latest Mongolian dino to make a educational press is a doozy.

H. escuilliei (I’ll only call him Hal for short) was around roughly 73 million years ago and belongs to a maniraptors, a dinosaur origin that includes birds and their closest relatives. But this man had a series of facilities singular in a group.

Swanosaurus

Let’s start with that neck. Yes, it’s long, proportionally a longest neck-to-body ratio among a bird-ish dinosaurs. Hal apparently used that neck to go swanning about (heh), foraging and waylay hunting. And yes, there was really some sport going on: The figure and series of teeth Hal had are identical to nautical predators.

The new dino also has surprising forelimbs: The prolonged skeleton are flattened, suggesting a flipper-like coming and duty not distinct a penguin’s top limbs.

By now we competence be meditative waaaaaaait a minute…aquatic predators…penguins…cheap duck-themed puns…are we saying-

Yes, we am observant that a researchers trust Hal was an amphibious dinosaur, means to travel on land on a hindlimbs and paddle about in H2O regulating a flipper-like forelimbs.

This is flattering sparkling things when we consider that nautical or amphibious dinosaurs are few and distant between (Spinosaurus being a many famous).

Not Ducking The Big Question

If you’re wondering where a steep comparison comes in, researchers found fundamental adaptations that advise a long-necked dinosaur developed with a core of mass shifted to a hip region. This allowed it to travel some-more make on land than other bipedal dinosaurs; it’s a underline also seen in ducks and other short-tailed birds.

(As for a feathers…regular readers know how most we love feathered dinosaurs when there is strong justification to support their featheriness. And yes, formed on what paleontologists have found in other maniraptors, it’s a good gamble Hal was rocking a feathery stuff, as illustrated in a artist rendering.)

A dinosaur this intriguing needs a good backstory for a name as well, and Hal has it. Its full name honors both a late Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmólska and François Escuillié, who was obliged for removing a specimen, that had been poached and is still partially embedded in rock, behind to Mongolia.

Read some-more about Hal today in Nature.

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Posted by on Dec 7 2017. Filed under Living World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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