Paleontologists were studying an unusual fossil that was later identified as a new dinosaur related to the velociraptor
The animal seems to have the neck of a swan, a snout like a goose and forelimbs very similar to flippers. The mysterious creature’s features further suggested that the animal might have lived on both land and water.
If that was to be true, it would make the species, also known as Halszkaraptor escuilliei, the second swimming dinosaur to have ever been discovered, after spinosaurus (though even that is debated).
Clues suggesting that the animal was semiaquatic include its long hooked neck, crocodile-like teeth and a snout filled with sensory nerves that are usually seen in crocodiles, helping them to detect movement and temperature while in water. Even more, the creature’s forelimbs were shaped more like flippers than wings, which made them look very similar to those of marine reptiles such as the plesiosaur.
“It was designed for swimming,” said Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels and an author on the paper, “but which kind of swimming we don’t know.”
The animal may have used its flipper forelimbs to move just like a penguin, or its long legs to wade through water like a crane or heron. Dr. Godefroit also said that the dinosaur did not have webbed feet, which means that it is highly unlikely that it swam like a swan.
The recently discovered dinosaur’s past is mysterious in many ways, just as its swimming abilities.