70 million years ago, a very duck-like, duck-sized raptor spent its days swimming and catching fish in the lakes and rivers of what is now Mongolia.
An amazingly complete fossilized skeleton of Halszkaraptor escuillei reveals a strange dinosaur, one that spent a good part of its time in the water hunting its aquatic prey, but was also able to move about effectively on dry land. Its forelimbs bore very long fingers, which would have been good for swimming. Strong hind limbs would have propelled it through the water or over land (and yes, they were equipped with the hyperextended claw shared with its more deadly relatives).
Halszkaraptor's neck was similar to a heron's, flexible and quick. Small teeth were perfect for gripping slippery fish or amphibians. Biologists performed an x-ray scan of the skeleton, and noticed structures in the little raptor's skull that could have aided in sensing disturbances in the water, similar to crocodiles and modern aquatic birds.
This amazing fossil find shows that paleontologists are still making new discoveries, and illustrates the amazing biological diversity on Earth driven by evolution.
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