Mystery fossils belonged to giant ostrichlike dinosaur | Science News

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Mystery fossils belonged to giant ostrichlike dinosaur

Behemoth bones reveal a fish-eating Cretaceous creature

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1:03pm, October 22, 2014
ostrichlike dinosaur drawing

HEFTY HANDS  At more than 6,000 kilograms, Deinocheirus mirificus (shown in an artist’s reconstruction) is the largest ostrichlike dinosaur yet discovered.

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Almost 50 years after paleontologists in the Mongolian desert dug up mysterious dinosaur fossils taller than most people, scientists have now put a fish-eating face to the bones.

The fossils probably belonged to a gigantic type of ostrichlike dinosaur, named Deinocheirus mirificus, or “unusual horrible hand” for its massive forearms and claws, two recently discovered skeletons suggest.

Because the original fossils were mainly just arms, no one knew exactly where to place Deinocheirus in the dino family tree. The bones resembled those of other ostrich dinosaurs but seemed too big: At 2.4 meters long, about the length of a full-sized sofa, the forelimbs dwarfed known specimens. In fact, Deinocheirus’s burly bones stretched longer than the arms of any other bipedal animal.

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