New toothed diving dinosaur discovered

communication biology (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-022-04119-9″ width=”800″ height=”530″/>

Skull of Natovenator polydontus (MPC-D 102/114, holotype). a–d Skull in left lateral (a), right lateral (b), dorsal (c), and ventral (d) views. e µCT-rendered image sectioned at the point marked in a shows a cross-section of the premaxillary and maxillary anterior teeth in dorsal view. f Microcomputed tomography (µCT) rendered image of the occipital region in posterior view. g µCT-rendered image of the pterygoid and quadrate. ?bm possible bite mark, d dental, f frontal, h humerus, l lacrimal, m5 5th maxillary tooth, mx maxilla, na nasal p parietal, p13 13th premaxillary tooth, pl palate, pm premaxilla, pop paroccipital process, pt pterygoid, q square, rt replacement tooth, sq squamosal, i.e. supraoccipital. Recognition: communication biology (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-022-04119-9

A new species of non-avian dinosaur with a streamlined body resembling that of modern diving birds like penguins and auks is described in a study published in communication biology. The results represent the first case of a non-bird theropod — a type of carnivorous dinosaur that walked on two legs — with a streamlined body.

Yuong-Nam Lee and colleagues identified the new species by examining the fossilized remains of a specimen from Omnogovi Province in Mongolia. They named the species Natovenator polydontus, which means “swimming hunter with many teeth.” The specimen is a largely complete skeleton, showing the skull, spine, a forelimb, and the remains of two hindlimbs.

The authors report several adaptations that suggest the natovenator may have been a semi-aquatic predator, including a streamlined body resembling that of modern diving birds — with ribs pointing toward the tail — and a long neck reminiscent of modern waterfowl resembles geese. These adaptations may have reduced the resistance Natovenator would have faced while swimming and helped it catch prey.

The authors also speculate that the unusually high number of teeth Natovenator had in relation to the size of its jaw might indicate that it fed on fish or insects, whatever other evidence – such as the fossilized remains of its stomach contents – are required to confirm this.

Analysis of the evolutionary relationships between Natovenator and other theropod dinosaurs shows that it was closely related to Halszkaraptorines – a group of non-avian theropods that previous research suggested may have been adapted to a semiaquatic lifestyle similar to modern ones waterfowl. Taken together, the results indicate that Natovenator was a semi-aquatic predator and provide further insight into theropod evolution.

More information:
Sungjin Lee et al, A Non-Avian Dinosaur With a Streamlined Body Shows Potential Adaptations for Swimming, communication biology (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-022-04119-9

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Citation: New toothy diving dinosaur discovered (December 4, 2022), retrieved December 4, 2022 from

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