New dinosaur looks like odd mix of duck, croc, ostrich, swan

Snout scan Halszkaraptor

Snout scan Halszkaraptor

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.

M - More than 70 million years ago, a creature roaming Earth's ancient wetlands may have looked like a duck and hunted like a duck-but it was really a dinosaur related to Velociraptor, National Geographic reports.

A unusual turkey-sized, bird-like dinosaur that boasted a swan's neck, arms resembling flippers, long legs and a mouth full of needle-like teeth staked out a unique amphibious lifestyle in rivers and lakes about 75 million years ago in Mongolia.

"The ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) has become the worldwide leader for high quality X-ray imaging of such precious specimens", said Paul Tafforeau of the ESRF, according to the ScienceDaily.

The team were so surprised when they first saw it, that their first step was to make sure this fossil was of one creature, and not a mash up of lots of different ones just joined together. They say the fossil is indeed real and identify the creature as Halszkaraptor escuilliei, a relative of the velociraptor and perhaps only the second swimming dinosaur ever found.

"It combines different features from different groups of dinosaurs in an unexpected and freakish mix", said study lead author Andrea Cau, a paleontologist at the Capellini Geological Museum in Bologna. He helped her to swim quickly in water using rudimentary wings, like the penguins, and while it would nice to run and land with legs.

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The fossil of Halszka took an interesting journey.

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), chose to return it to Mongolia and asked for professional paleontologists to classify it. "Illegally exported from Mongolia, Halszka resided in private collections around the world before it was acquired in 2015 and offered to palaeontologists for study and to prepare its return to Mongolia".

"Illicit fossil trade presents a great challenge to modern palaeontology", he added.

Halszka's full skeleton was found curled-up in a sandstone rock.

Few other known dinosaurs display Halszkaraptor's apparent zeal for semi-aquatic living.

This discovery, as the scientists conclude, suggests that dinosaurs have mastered all ecological niches, including air and water, and not only dominated on land, as previously thought, paleontologists.

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