A new species of predatory marine dinosaur with an “unusually high” number of teeth has been identified.

It resembles modern diving birds like penguins and rzorbils, but it was a previously unknown dinosaur. The discoverers of its fossils christened it as Natovenator polydontusWhich means “many-toothed hunter-swimmer”.

Published research this thursday Biology of communications describes this new species of dinosaur that had an aerodynamic body similar to the aforementioned birds. The findings represent the first case of a theropod with a streamlined body.

Theropods – from the Greek for “monster feet” – form a suborder within the dinosaurs. Among others, the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex belongs to him.

Korean paleontologist Yuong-nam Lee and his colleagues identified the new species by studying the fossil remains of a specimen from Mongolia’s Omnogov province.

The specimen is a nearly complete skeleton, featuring the remains of a skull, vertebral column, one forelimb, and two hindlimbs.

The authors point to several adaptations that suggest Natovenator may have been a diving, semi-aquatic predator, such as a streamlined body similar to that of modern diving birds—with ribs pointing toward the tail—and a long neck similar to modern waterfowl such as geese. However, it is not a bird dinosaur.

This adaptation may have reduced the resistance that Natovenator encountered while swimming and helped it catch prey.

An unusually large number of teeth

The authors also suggest that Natovenator’s unusually high number of teeth compared to its jaw size may indicate that it ate fish or insects, although more evidence is needed to confirm this – such as the fossilized remains of its stomach contents.

An analysis of the evolutionary relationships between Natovenator and other theropod dinosaurs indicates that it was closely related to the subfamily Halscaraptorines, a group of non-avian theropods that previous research suggests may have adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle like modern waterfowl.

Taken together, the findings indicate that Natovenator was a semi-aquatic diving predator and provide further insight into theropod evolution.

Source: El Diario

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