fossil of the dinosaur Natovenator Polydontus. Photo: network
SABANGMERAUKE NEWS – Scientists have just unearthed the fossils of a 71-year-old carnivorous dinosaur in southern Mongolia.
This bipedal dinosaur could swim and dive in search of prey.
Quoting Gizmodo, on Monday (12/5/2022) this dinosaur was later named Natovenator polydontus or many-toothed hunter swimmer.
“Finding semi-aquatic dinosaurs means very high ecological diversity in dinosaurs,” said Yuong-Nam Lee, a paleontologist at Seoul National University and lead author of the study.
In addition to its many teeth, N. polydontus has a slender body and long neck.
From the bottom up, this extinct dinosaur might have looked like a swan or a cormorant, a modern diving bird, but it had a long tail.
When found, the skeleton is incomplete. The researchers managed to obtain only the skull, vertebrae, front legs and some parts of the hind legs. But the morphology of the animal can be deduced from the remains found.
“The angle between each rib and the associated articular vertebra is very shallow, like many diving birds, but in contrast to terrestrial theropods,” Lee said.
“Even some extant diving birds, such as alcids and phalacrocoracids, have ribs that extend backwards. In these animals, the ribs directed backwards aid in swimming by making the body more streamlined.”
The research team also hopes to be able to find the stomach contents of dinosaurs to learn more about their food.
Previously, another team discovered an armored ankylosaurus from the same region of Mongolia last year.
They suggest that ankylosaurs may have dug defensive trenches when threatened, like modern horned lizards.
More fossils need to be found to better test these ideas, but taken together they demonstrate the dynamics of biodiversity in the Cretaceous.