A bipedal dinosaur with a streamlined body dived underwater in search of fish

Researchers have discovered a new species of dinosaur - Natovenator polydontus. The body of representatives of this species resembled

modern diving birds such as penguins and auks. It is the first known carnivorous lizard (non-avian) dinosaur with a streamlined body.

Reconstructed appearance of Natovenator polydontus. Image: Sungjin Lee et al., Communications Biology

The discovery was made while studying fossilsremains found on the territory of modern Mongolia. The researchers were able to assemble an almost complete skeleton, which includes the skull, spine, one of the front paws and both hind legs. The name Natovenator polydontus means "a floating hunter with many teeth" and reflects the ideas of paleontologists about the appearance and habits of an ancient predator.

Based on the structure of the skeleton, scientistsreconstructed the appearance of the dinosaur. It had a long neck, reminiscent of modern geese, and a streamlined body with ribs pointing towards the tail, similar to modern waterfowl. These evolutionary features point to the ability of a predator to dive underwater and grab prey with a mobile neck, the authors of the study believe.

Reconstructed skeleton of Natovenator polydontus and rib structure of waterfowl (e-i) and land ostrich (j). Image: Sungjin Lee et al., Communications Biology

In addition, the researchers found an unusualthe ratio of the number of teeth and the size of the jaw: there are too many of them. This indicates that the animal fed on fish and insects. More detailed data will be obtained by analyzing the fossilized remains of the contents of the predator's stomach.

The researchers note that the new discovery will help to better understand the evolution of animals of the Cretaceous period and the adaptation of animals to environmental conditions.

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