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He had a graceful neck, similar to the swan, but strange "killer claws" that could destroy prey: the fossil of a new one, 75- Dinosaur species have been discovered of duck "from millions of years ago in Mongolia, paleontologists reported on Wednesday.

The fossil represents a new species of amphibian dinosaur, which walked on two legs on land like ducks, but also uses its forelimbs as fins to maneuver in water like penguins. He also relied on his long neck to search for food and ambush.

The scientific name of the creature is Halszkaraptor escuillie (nicknamed "Halszka"), which honors the Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmólska, who was known for his study of Mongolian dinosaurs.

The dinosaur is a strange combination that had not been seen before. "The first time I examined the specimen, I even questioned whether it was a genuine fossil," says Andrea Cau of the Capellini Geological Museum in Bologna and lead author of the study, which appeared in the British journal Nature .

"It's so unusual and strange compared to most known dinosaurs," he said. "It combines a duck-like head with a swan-like neck, short arms with strange hands and a velociraptor body."

Noting that it is the first semi-aquatic dinosaur similar to a bird, Cau said: "Halszka represents a new ecological niche for dinosaurs."

The bug was the size of a goose, which makes it one of the smallest known dinosaurs. His diet consisted mainly of fish and crustaceans, but he also ate lizards and insects, he said.

And since he lived at the same time as the ferocious velociraptor, Halszka was a frequent dinner for that infamous dinosaur. [19659008] The fossil was found in Ukhaa Tolgod in southern Mongolia, which has been known to paleontologists for decades and is often targeted by poachers. Illegally exported from Mongolia, he resided in private collections around the world before being acquired in 2015 and offered it to paleontologists for study and preparation for their return to Mongolia.

"The illicit trade in fossils presents a great challenge for modern paleontology and a dramatic loss of the scientific heritage of Mongolia," said study co-author Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels.

Paleontologists used multiple-resolution X-ray microtomography to study the fossil. "This technique is currently the most powerful and sensitive method to obtain images of internal details without damaging priceless fossils," said Paul Tafforeau, of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, another co-author of the study.

Thanks to this state of the art technique, Cau said that "now we show that rapacious dinosaurs not only ran and flew, but also swam"

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