By Hannah Lozada
Scientists claim that they discovered, “The World’s First Swimming Dinosaur,” according to a recent study. The species, called “Natovenator polydontus,” was discovered in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.
Earlier this month, a study published in Communications Biology states that the dinosaur might’ve had the proper adaptations fit for swimming.
According to the study article published on nature.com, “Here we report a new theropod, Natovenator polydontus gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia. The new specimen includes a well-preserved skeleton with several articulated dorsal ribs that are posterolaterally oriented to streamline the body as in diving birds. Additionally, the widely arched proximal rib shafts reflect a dorsoventrally compressed rib cage like aquatic reptiles.
Despite the body being found in a desert, there is evidence that the Gobi Desert could’ve contained lakes and other bodies of water millions of years ago. This study states that the dinosaur may have dove into the water like a duck to hunt its prey, “Additionally, the widely arched proximal rib shafts reflect a dorsoventrally compressed rib cage like aquatic reptiles. Its body shape suggests that Natovenator was a potentially capable swimming predator, and the streamlined body evolved independently in separate lineages of theropod dinosaurs.”
It is described as a theropod with three toes with claws on each limb. The Natovenator roamed the Earth in Mongolia during the Upper Cretaceous period around 145 to 66 million years ago.
Researchers from Seoul National University, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Alberta teamed up to work on the study. Researchers realized that it possessed streamlined ribs just like other swimming birds. They also came to the conclusion that it could’ve been a swimming predator.
“Its body shape suggests that Natovenator was a potentially capable swimming predator, and the streamlined body evolved independently in separate lineages of theropod dinosaurs,” the researchers wrote.
Another dinosaur discovered in Mongolia called, “Halszkaraptor,” is very similar to the Natovenator. Scientists also believe that this other dinosaur was semiaquatic. Thankfully, the Natovenator specimen’s body is more complete, which makes it easier for researchers to analyze its body shape.
Researchers state that the Halszkaraptor and the Natovenator probably used their forearms to move throughout the water.
The Natovenator also had dense bones, which are possessed for aquatic animals.
Researchers are trying to figure out how the bird could’ve moved. “Is it paddling with its feet, a bit of a doggy-paddle? How fast could it go?” a researcher named Hone asked.
A paleontologist named Nizar Ibrahim states, “I’m sure that there will be many, many more surprises. And we’ll find out the dinosaurs were not just around for a very long time, but also, you know, really diverse and very good at invading new environment.”