Technology Oddball dinosaur was 'mixture between a Velociraptor and a goose'

22:00  06 december  2017
22:00  06 december  2017 Source:   Reuters

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"It looks like a mixture between a Velociraptor and a goose ." Its semi-aquatic lifestyle is almost unheard of among dinosaurs . The researchers believe Halszkaraptor, a close cousin of the dinosaur lineage that led to birds, was covered in feathers.

Trimming a section of a goose biot (feather) for use as a velociraptor crest. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd. The feathers are still rough and will need a final trim when the dinosaur is completely feathered.

a bird standing in front of a body of water: Artist's reconstruction image of a dinosaur named Halszkaraptor escuilliei © REUTERS Artist's reconstruction image of a dinosaur named Halszkaraptor escuilliei

A strange turkey-sized, bird-like dinosaur that boasted a swan's neck, arms resembling flippers, long legs and a mouth full of needle-like teeth staked out a unique amphibious lifestyle in rivers and lakes about 75 million years ago in Mongolia.

Scientists on Wednesday described the dinosaur, named Halszkaraptor escuilliei, which walked on two legs on land in an upright ostrich-like posture but spent a lot of time floating atop the water, using its long neck to catch small fish, insects, mollusks and crustaceans.

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"It combines different features from different groups of dinosaurs in an unexpected and bizarre mix," said study lead author Andrea Cau, a paleontologist at the Capellini Geological Museum in Bologna. "It looks like a mixture between a Velociraptor and a goose."

Its semi-aquatic lifestyle is almost unheard of among dinosaurs.

The researchers believe Halszkaraptor, a close cousin of the dinosaur lineage that led to birds, was covered in feathers. But feathers are rarely preserved in fossils and none were found.

Compared to birds, its forelimbs were relatively small, and structurally were "decidedly not wing-like," said University of Alberta paleontologist Philip Currie, another of the researchers.

"In water, it probably was a slow-moving swimmer, perhaps similar to a swan, and used its forelimbs to maneuver while swimming," Cau said.

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The scientists used a sophisticated scanning device called a synchrotron to peer inside solid rock to make out anatomical details of the well-preserved, nearly complete fossil skeleton.

"Halszkaraptor was able to run like all dinosaurs, and probably hunted its prey using an ambush strategy that used the long neck to quickly catch small animals. It was also able to swim and hunt in water, using again an ambush strategy thanks to its long and flexible neck," Cau said.

Its snout was low and slender, contributing to its bird-like appearance.

"I would guess that it had a lifestyle similar to a shorebird or heron," Currie said.

It is noteworthy not just for its weirdness but for the circuitous route it took before being examined by scientists.

The fossil was poached from a fossil site in southern Mongolia and sold to private collectors before being spotted by French fossil dealer François Escuillié, who verified its authenticity, acquired it and provided it to researchers. The fossil will enter the collection of a Mongolian scientific institution.

Its name honors Escuillié and late Polish dinosaur expert Halszka Osmolska.

The research was published in the journal Nature.

(Reporting by Will DunhamEditing by Sandra Maler)

Glass Ceilings, Vicious Cycles Keep Young, British Managers From Premier League Jobs .
Just over a month has passed since Sam Allardyce went on a Qatari television station and bemoaned the lack of opportunities for British managers. Since then, he, David Moyes and Alan Pardew have all been appointed to Premier League positions. Roy Hodgson had taken the Crystal Palace job a month earlier. That means that of the 20 Premier League clubs, nine are now managed by British managers. (That’s including Chris Hughton, who played for Ireland, but was born in London and, coming through at Tottenham, can be considered a product of the British football system). Of the 92 league clubs, 70 have British coaches. Given those figures, it’s easy to mock Allardyce’s claim of a “glass ceiling” for British managers. It's easy, too, to mock the claim he made years ago that he would be a more-respected figure were his surname Allardici rather than good old-fashioned British Allardyce (it’s actually a Pictish name originating in Kincardineshire on the east coast of Scotland, although he is from Dudley in the English Midlands, but that's neither here nor there). Easy, but not entirely accurate. Allardyce plays the no-nonsense provincial Englander well. He relishes physical battles. He favors direct football. It’s easy to see him as part of a direct line stretching back to the long-ball theorists Charles Hughes and Charles Reep. But that isn’t entirely accurate, either. Allardyce, after all, is the manager who brought Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo to Bolton.

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