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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:50 pm 
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New dinosaur looks like odd mix of duck, croc, ostrich, swan
BY SETH BORENSTEIN
December 6, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) -- With a bill like a duck but teeth like a croc's, a swanlike neck and killer claws, a new dinosaur species uncovered by scientists looks like something Dr. Seuss could have dreamed up.

It also had flippers like a penguin, and while it walked like an ostrich it could also swim. That's the first time swimming ability has been shown for a two-legged, meat-eating dinosaur. The tiny creature, only about 18 inches (45 centimeters) tall, roamed 75 million years ago in what is now Mongolia. Its full curled-up skeleton was found in a sandstone rock. "It's such a peculiar animal," said Dennis Voeten, a paleontology researcher at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. "It combines different parts we knew from other groups into this one small animal."

In a study released Wednesday by the journal Nature, Voeten and coauthors named it Halszkaraptor escuilliei (HAHL-shka-rap-tor ES-key-lay-ee) or "Halszka" after the late Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmolska.

Paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, who didn't participate in the study, called it "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." Its mashup body let it run and hunt on the ground and fish in fresh water, said study co-author Paul Tafforeau. He's a paleontologist at the ESRF , known as the European Synchrotron in Grenoble, France, a powerful X-ray generator where numerous tests were made on the fossil.

Lead author Andrea Cau, a paleontologist at the Geological Museum Capellini in Bologna, Italy, said he was at first highly suspicious about the fossil's authenticity, both because of its appearance and the fact that the rock containing the skeleton had been smuggled out of Mongolia and left in a private collector's hands. "I asked myself, 'Is this a real, natural skeleton, or an artifact, a chimera? If this is a fake, how could I demonstrate it?'" Cau said in an email. "Assuming it was a fake instead of starting assuming that the fossil is genuine was the most appropriate way to start the investigation of such a bizarre fossil."

So researchers used the Synchrotron to create three-dimensional images of the fossil, which showed the creature was indeed a single animal and not a concoction built up from several sources. For example, an arm hidden in the rock perfectly matched the visible left arm, and lines indicating growth matched up across the bones. Even though the creature wasn't dreamed up by Dr. Seuss, it got a blessing from a Dr. Sues. Hans Sues, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution who wasn't part of the research, praised the work and said it "shows again how amazingly diverse dinosaurs were."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:52 am 
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Paleontologists discover new sauropod species in Argentina
2 November 2018

Buenos Aires (AFP) - A team of Spanish and Argentine paleontologists have discovered the remains of a dinosaur that lived 110 million years ago in the center of the country, the National University of La Matanza revealed Friday.

The remains came from three separate dinosaurs from the herbivorous group of sauropods, the best known of which are the Diplodocus and Brontosaurus. This new species has been named Lavocatisaurus agrioensis.

"We found most of the cranial bones: the snout, the jaws, a lot of teeth, also the bones that define the eye sockets for example and, in that way, we were able to create an almost complete reconstruction," said Jose Luis Carballido, a researcher at the Egidio Feruglio museum and the national council of scientific investigations. Parts of the neck, tail and back were also found. "Not only is this the discovery of a new species in an area where you wouldn't expect to find fossils, but the skull is almost complete," added Carballido.

The remains belonged to an adult of around 12 meters (39 feet) in length, and two minors of around six to seven meters. The paleontologists say the dinosaurs moved around in a group and died together. "This discovery of an adult and two juveniles also signifies the first record of a group displacement among the rebbachisaurus dinosaurs," said study lead author Jose Ignacio Canudo of Zaragoza University.

The area in which the fossils were found is unusual for dinosaurs as it would have been a desert with sporadic lakes in that era. Sauropods were the biggest creatures ever to walk the planet. It is believed that Supersaurus could reach up 33-34 meters in length and Argentinosaurus might have weighed up to 120 tons. They were herbivorous quadrupeds with long necks and tails, massive bodies and small heads.

But the discovery in Neuquen, published in the scientific journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, remains a huge surprise. "While one can imagine that this group of sauropods could have adapted to move in more arid environments, with little vegetation, little humidity and little water, it's an area in which you wouldn't be looking for fossils," said Carballido.

Source: AFP

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