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World’s first swimming dinosaur discovered in Mongolia

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

For more than 150 million years, amazing dinosaur species in every shape and size filled Earth’s habitats. Long-necked giants, living tanks, razor-toothed carnivores and brightly colored birds proliferated through the Mesozoic world. But for all their diversity and success, it seemed dinosaurs were reluctant to take the plunge. Through two centuries of discovery, no non-avian dinosaur was ever found with adaptations best suited to swimming and diving, even as other forms of reptiles made the transition from land to water. But now, at long last, paleontologists have found a swimming dinosaur.

The newly named species, described Thursday in Communications Biology, was not a saurian giant. The small swimmer was only about a foot long and lived in prehistoric Mongolia about 71 million years ago. Despite being a cousin of sharp-toothed predators such as Velociraptor, the new dinosaur had a very different, streamlined look and long jaws fully of tiny teeth. Seoul National University paleontologist Sungjin Lee and colleagues have named the dinosaur Natovenator polydontus, the “many-toothed swimming hunter.”


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  • The title was changed to World’s first swimming dinosaur discovered in Mongolia

It's not the "world's first swimming dinosaur" like the title claims. We've known about dinosaur swimming trackways since the 1940's (link, article starts on p. 60) and several dinosaurs have been hypothesized to be aquatic or semiaquatic before this one, even if incorrectly (sauropods and hadrosaurs in general, CompsognathusPsittacosaurusSpinosaurusHalszkaraptor, etc.). It's likely that most dinosaurs could swim in some capacity as well.

Edited by Carnoferox
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