New oviraptorosaur species discovered in Mongolia

Date:

Share post:

A new oviraptorosaur species from the Late Cretaceous was discovered in Mongolia, according to a study published in in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Yuong-Nam Lee from Seoul National University, South Korea, and colleagues.

New oviraptorosaur species discovered in Mongolia
Gobiraptor reconstruction [Credit: Do Yoon Kim, 2019]

Oviraptorosaurs were a diverse group of feathered, bird-like dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of Asia and North America. Despite the abundance of nearly complete oviraptorosaur skeletons discovered in southern China and Mongolia, the diet and feeding strategies of these toothless dinosaurs are still unclear. In this study, Lee and colleagues described an incomplete skeleton of an oviraptorosaur found in the Nemegt Formation of the Gobi desert of Mongolia.




The new species, named Gobiraptor minutus, can be distinguished from other oviraptorosaurs in having unusual thickened jaws. This unique morphology suggests that Gobiraptor used a crushing feeding strategy, supporting previous hypotheses that oviraptorosaurs probably fed on hard food items such as eggs, seeds or hard-shell mollusks. Histological analyses of the femur revealed that the specimen likely belonged to a very young individual.

New oviraptorosaur species discovered in Mongolia
Cranial elements of the holotype specimen (MPC-D 102/111) of Gobiraptor minutus gen. et sp. nov.
[Credit: S. Lee et al. 2019]

The finding of a new oviraptorosaur species in the Nemegt Formation, which consists mostly of river and lake deposits, confirms that these dinosaurs were extremely well adapted to wet environments. The authors propose that different dietary strategies may explain the wide taxonomic diversity and evolutionary success of this group in the region.




The authors add: “A new oviraptorid dinosaur Gobiraptor minutus gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation is described here based on a single holotype specimen that includes incomplete cranial and postcranial elements. The unique morphology of the mandible and the accordingly inferred specialized diet of Gobiraptor also indicate that different dietary strategies may be one of important factors linked with the remarkably high diversity of oviraptorids in the Nemegt Basin.”

Source: Public Library of Science [February 06, 2019]

1 COMMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Ancient atmospheric oxygen sleuthing with ocean chromium

Found in jewellery, car parts, pigments, and industrial chemical reactions, the metal chromium and its compounds are often...

The ‘Great Dying’

The Paleozoic era culminated 251.9 million years ago in the most severe mass extinction recorded in the geologic...

The Dawn of Modern Reptiles

Lizards and snakes are a key component of most terrestrial ecosystems on earth today. Along with the charismatic...

Woolly mammoths experienced a genomic meltdown just before extinction

As the population of woolly mammoths dwindled, the massive animals’ genomes experienced a mutational meltdown, pushing them closer...

Scientists discover new way to reconstruct what extinct animals looked like

Scientists could be set to reveal the most accurate depictions of ancient vertebrates ever made after a world-first...

New discovery pushes origin of feathers back by 70 million years

An international team of palaeontologists, which includes the University of Bristol, has discovered that the flying reptiles, pterosaurs,...

Guazia, the earliest winged seed without cupule

In a paper published in National Science Review, a Chinese group of palaeobotanists described a new genus and...

Evolutionary history of tiny animals corroborates timing for past collapses of Antarctic ice sheets

The world’s scientists have been trying to figure out how exactly ice sheets in Antarctica have changed and...