In Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, scientists discovered the bones of a previously unknown dinosaur species, Natovenator polydontus, the first and only dinosaur found that had specific adaptions suited for swimming. Hailing from prehistoric Mongolia about 71 million years ago, the Natovenator was a “many-toothed hunting swimmer” that measured around a foot long. A relative of the Velociraptor and other sharp-toothed predators, the new species has distinct traits—like a long jaw with tiny teeth to snatch fish and swept-back ribs—that set it apart from other dinosaurs that were believed to be capable of swimming now and then, such as the Spinosaurus. These familiar yet adapted traits in the Natovenator suggest that there could be a whole family of non-avian swimming dinosaurs, which further study of the known species could help elucidate. Learn more about it at Smithsonian Magazine.
Image courtesy of Yusik Choi