Dragon dinosaur met a muddy end | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

SCIENCE NEWS NEEDS YOU

Support nonprofit journalism

Subscribe now


Introducing

Dragon dinosaur met a muddy end

Feathered oviraptorosaurs surged at the end of the age of dinosaurs

By
9:00am, November 10, 2016
illustration of a mud dragon

TRAPPED  This birdlike feathered dinosaur with a bony crest on its skull is one of several oviraptorosaur species from the time just before the asteroid hit (illustration shown).

A bizarre new birdlike dino was part of an evolutionary extravaganza at the end of the age of dinosaurs. And it was a real stick-in-the-mud, too.

Construction workers blasted Tongtianlong limosus out of the Earth near Ganzhou in southern China. “They very nearly blew this thing to smithereens,” says paleontologist Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

The find is one of six oviraptorosaur species discovered from roughly the same place and time — around 72 million to 66 million years ago. Like its feathered cousins, Tongtianlong walked on two legs and had a sharp beak. But each species had distinct skeletal quirks. Tongtianlong, for one, had a bony, domelike crest on its skull. Oviraptorosaurs were churning out lots of new species during the last stage of the Cretaceous Period, Brusatte says. Tongtianlong was part of “the final wave of dinosaur diversification before the asteroid

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content