A brand new species of penguin-like diving dinosaur has been found

A brand new species of penguin-like diving dinosaur has been found


A brand new examine has discovered proof that at the very least one species of dinosaur might have been a talented swimmer, diving into the water like a duck to hunt its prey.

analysis, printed in Communications Biology Dec. 1 describes the newly found species Natovenator polydontus. The theropod, or hollow-bodied dinosaur with three toes and claws on every limb, lived in Mongolia throughout the Higher Cretaceous interval, between 145 and 66 million years in the past.

Scientists from Seoul Nationwide College, College of Alberta and Mongolian Academy of Sciences collaborated on the article.

The researchers famous that Natavenator has streamlined ribs, like these of diving birds.

“Its physique form means that Natavenator was a doubtlessly swimming predator, and that the streamlined physique developed independently in separate lineages of theropod dinosaurs,” the authors write.

The Natovenator specimen carefully resembles Halszkaraptor, one other dinosaur present in Mongolia that scientists consider was semi-aquatic. However the Natovenator specimen is extra full than Halszkaraptor, so it is simpler for scientists to see its streamlined physique form.

The researchers defined that each Natavenator and Halskaraptor most likely used their forearms to propel them via the water.

David Hawn, a paleontologist and professor at Queen Mary College of London, informed CNN it is laborious to say precisely the place Natavenator falls on the spectrum from totally terrestrial to completely aquatic. However the arms of the specimen “seem like they’d be good for water motion,” he stated. Hon participated within the peer evaluation of the communication biology examine.

As well as, Natovenator had dense bones, that are needed for animals that dive beneath the floor of the water.

Because the authors write, it had a “comparatively hydrodynamic physique.”

The subsequent step, Hon stated, might be to mannequin the form of the dinosaur’s physique to assist scientists perceive precisely the way it may need moved. “Paddles along with his toes, a bit of doggy? How briskly can it go?”

Additional analysis also needs to have a look at the setting wherein Natavenator lived. The specimen was discovered within the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, however there’s proof that the desert as soon as contained lakes and different our bodies of water.

“The true query is, OK, you’ve gotten a dinosaur swimming within the desert, what’s it swimming in?” he stated. “Discovering the fossil document of those lakes might be troublesome, however ultimately we might discover them. And if we try this, we will discover much more of this stuff.”

Nizar Ibrahim, a senior lecturer in paleontology on the College of Portsmouth, whose analysis has included findings displaying that Spinosaurus was most likely semi-aquatic, informed CNN that he’s not but totally satisfied by the examine’s findings. He argued {that a} extra rigorous quantitative evaluation would have made the findings extra conclusive.

“I want to see, for instance, an correct description of the bone density, the osteohistology of the animal, in a bigger knowledge set,” he stated. “Even the anatomy of the ribs, in the event that they put it within the massive image — a giant knowledge set that may be helpful.”

He stated the “anatomical proof is much less easy” for a swimming Natavenator than for a swimming Spinosaurus.

And, like Hone, he additionally wonders precisely what waters Natavenator may need been swimming in. “The setting wherein this animal was present in Mongolia is the precise reverse of what you’ll anticipate from an animal that loves water,” he stated.

However he hopes the analysis will help open the door to broader insights into dinosaur conduct. Dinosaurs was regarded as solely terrestrial, however proof is rising that at the very least some species spent as a lot time in water as they did on land.

“I am positive there might be many, many extra surprises,” Ibrahim stated. “And we’re studying that not solely have been dinosaurs round for a really very long time, however they have been additionally, you already know, very numerous and superb at invading new environments.”

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