3rd December, 2022 Science and Technology
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- An artist reconstructed the dinosaur, called Natovenator polydontus, lived about 72 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period.
- The dinosaur, called Natovenator polydontus, lived about 72 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period.
- It was built like a diving bird with a streamlined body while possessing a goose-like elongated neck and a long-flattened snout with a mouth bearing more than 100 small teeth. It almost surely was covered in feathers.
- Natovenator was adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle in a freshwater ecosystem, perhaps floating on rivers and lakes, paddling with its front limbs, and using its flexible neck to catch fish and insects or diving underwater to capture its prey.
- Its well-preserved remains – a skeleton about 70% complete – were unearthed in the Gobi Desert, which over the decades has been a treasure trove for dinosaur fossils.
- Natovenator is part of the dinosaur group called theropods – sharing traits including bipedalism – best known for large meat-eaters including Tyrannosaurus, Tarbosaurus and Giganotosaurus. But the theropods, many of which were feathered, branched out in unusual directions with examples such as long-clawed ground sloth-like Therizinosaurus, ostrich-like Struthiomimus, termite-eating Mononykus and the entire bird lineage.
- Not many of the dinosaurs called “non-avian” – in other words, not the birds – are known to have lived a semi-aquatic lifestyle.
- Natovenator measured about 18 inches (45 cm) long, with a skull about 3 inches (7 cm) long. Its front limbs appeared somewhat flattened, perhaps as an adaptation for paddling and swimming. The streamlining of its body is shown by ribs that point toward the tail, as in diving birds, an arrangement that reduces drag in the water and allows efficient swimming.
- Natovenator – which means ‘swimming thief’ is small and delicate.
- There were various diving birds during the Cretaceous, including North America’s Hesperornis, which reached about 6 feet (1.8 meters) long, but none are known from the area Natovenator inhabited.