Unlike other theropods, its mix of birdlike body parts suggests it took to water like, well, a duck
It may have walked like a duck and swum like a penguin, but a flipper-limbed creature discovered in what is now Mongolia was no bird. The strange new species is the first known nonavian dinosaur that could both run and swim, researchers say.
To compensate for a long swanlike neck, probably used for dipping underwater for fish, this dino’s center of mass shifted toward its hips, allowing it to stand erect, similar to short-tailed waterfowl like ducks, scientists report December 6 in Nature. Along with the flipperlike limbs, those adaptations suggest the animal, dubbed Halszkaraptor escuilliei, probably spent much of its time in the water, say vertebrate paleontologist Andrea Cau of the Geological and Palaeontological Museum in Bologna, Italy, and his colleagues.
To study H. escuilliei in 3-D, and while still partially embedded in rock, the researchers used synchrotron