new species of dinosaur discovered in China by Brit student

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PostSat Mar 20, 2010 10:22 pm » by bugmenot


Terrifying new species of dinosaur discovered in China by British student :look: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... udent.html

A British Phd student has discovered a terrifying new species of dinosaur in China.

Michael Pittman and an American colleague stumbled on the near-complete fossil skeleton of Linheraptor exquisitus during a field trip to Inner Mongolia.

The eight foot long creature with scythe-like claws is related to the Velociraptor, one of the frightening stars of the film Jurassic Park.

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Found: The intact skull of a Linheraptor exquisitus dinosaur, a relation of the Velociraptor, has been uncovered in China

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Agile: An artist's impression of how the eight foot long dinosaur with scythe-like claws would have looked

Like its famous cousin, Linheraptor had a large curved toe claw on each foot which may have been used to dispatch prey.

The 25 kilogram (55 pound) dinosaur, which lived 75 million years ago, would have been agile and swift on its feet.

Mr Pittman, from University College London, said it was a childhood dream come true to discover the animal's fossil bones sticking out of a cliff face.

He was visiting the Wulansuhai Formation, a site of red sandstone rocks in Inner Mongolia where a number of other dinosaur finds have been made, with Jonah Choiniere from George Washington University.

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'Beautiful fossil': The full dinosaur skeleton discovered during a field trip to Inner Mongolia by a British Phd student

Recalling the discovery, Mr Pittman said: "Jonah saw a claw protruding from the cliff face. He carefully removed it and handed it to me. We went through its features silently but he wanted my identification first.

"I told him it was from a carnivorous dinosaur and when he agreed I'm surprised nobody in London heard us shouting.

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Scary cousin: The Velociraptor as brought to life in Jurassic Park

"I've always wanted to discover a dinosaur since I was a kid, and I've never given up on the idea. It was amazing that my first discovery was from a Velociraptor relative."

Mr Choiniere said: "It was a total surprise that the whole skeleton was buried deeper in the rock. This fossil is going to tell us a lot about the evolution of the skeleton in the group that includes Velociraptor."

Both Linheraptor and Velociraptor are dromaeosaurids, an extended family of meat-eating bird-like dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period.

Linheraptor is the fifth dromaeosaurid to be unearthed from the Wulansuhai Formation.

It is most closely related to the species Tsaagan mangas discovered in Mongolia in 1993.

The find is described today in the journal Zootaxa.

Professor Xu Xing, from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, China, who heads an investigation into the region's dinosaur history, said: "This is a really beautiful fossil and it documents a transitional stage in dromaeosaurid evolution.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... udent.html :look:

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