New dinosaur looks like odd mix of duck, croc, ostrich, swan This photo provided by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility shows, from left, researchers Pascal Godefroit, Andrea Cau, and Paul Tafforeau at the ESRF facility in Grenoble, France with a Halszkaraptor escuilliei fossil. (Pierre Jayet/ESRF via AP/Lukas Panzarin via AP)
New dinosaur looks like odd mix of duck, croc, ostrich, swan
Lexile

A new dinosaur species has been uncovered by scientists. It looks like something Dr. Seuss could have dreamed up. It had a bill like a duck. But it had teeth like a croc. And it had a swanlike neck and killer claws.

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.

It was a tiny creature. It was only about 18 inches tall. It 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." That's according to Dennis Voeten. He is a paleontology researcher at Palacky University. That is in the Czech Republic. "It combines different parts we knew from other groups into this one small animal."

It was described 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." It was named for the late Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmolska.

Kristi Curry Rogers called it "a pretty crazy chimera. It has 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." Kristi is a paleontologist at Macalester College. It is in St. Paul, Minnesota. Kristi didn't participate in the study.

Its mashup body let it run and hunt on the ground and fish in fresh water. That's according to  Paul Tafforeau. He was the  study co-author. He's a paleontologist at the ESRF. It is known as the European Synchrotron in Grenoble, France, a powerful X-ray generator where numerous tests were made on the fossil.

The lead author is Andrea Cau. He is a paleontologist at the Geological Museum Capellini in Bologna, Italy. He said he was at first highly suspicious about the fossil's authenticity. He doubted it both because of its appearance and the fact that the rock containing the skeleton had been smuggled out of Mongolia. It was 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. It 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 is a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution. She wasn't part of the research. She praised the work and said it "shows again how amazingly diverse dinosaurs were."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How can a dinosaur be a mix?
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COMMENTS (63)
  • jeremyj-orv
    12/12/2017 - 08:08 a.m.

    I think it is insane that they found a dinosaur mix, I would love to find new dinosaur species.

  • jeremyj-orv
    12/12/2017 - 08:10 a.m.

    I think it’s crazy that they foun a new species of dinosaur, I would love to find new dinosaurs.

  • calliy-orv
    12/12/2017 - 11:55 a.m.

    i thought it wasa swon but its not its an dinosour i think

  • ArniyaW-pay
    12/12/2017 - 01:47 p.m.

    I think the passage was very interesting because scientist had found a new yet different type of species that i think had not been discovered before.

  • TaniysjuhC-pay
    12/12/2017 - 01:50 p.m.

    How did they walk on theretwo feet .They did not believe that there artifacts are real.

  • HakanU-pay
    12/12/2017 - 01:54 p.m.

    i think this interesting for a dinosaur to look like 4 different things and probably looked very weird to i wonder if there is other weird dinosaurs like this one.

  • ZaimaS-pay
    12/12/2017 - 01:54 p.m.

    The dinosaur can be a mix because maybe it was combined with another animal or formed with another type of species. It could also have the same characteristics.

  • MyniahP-pay
    12/12/2017 - 01:56 p.m.

    This story is so cool I love it this now I know their was a new a dinosaur

  • BrandonC-pay1
    12/12/2017 - 01:56 p.m.

    i think that this article is very fake and special not in a good way honestly it also is disturbing.

    -to infinity and beyond

  • RashadJ-pay
    12/12/2017 - 01:56 p.m.

    yes I think it's a mix but I'm not sure if it's a dinosaur hopefully it is a dinosaur because I want to see the dinosaur race

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