Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Students discover new species of raptor dinosaur in Inner Mongolia

Date:
March 19, 2010
Source:
University College London
Summary:
A new species of dinosaur, a relative of the famous Velociraptor, has been discovered in Inner Mongolia by two Ph.D. students. The exceptionally well preserved dinosaur, named Linheraptor exquisitus, is the first near complete skeleton of its kind to be found in the Gobi desert since 1972, and will help scientists work out the appearance of other closely related dinosaur species.

A photograph of the entire Linheraptor exquisitus skeleton.
Credit: Courtesy of Dr. David W. E. Hone, Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology & Palaeoanthropology, Beijing

A new species of dinosaur, a relative of the famous Velociraptor, has been discovered in Inner Mongolia by two PhD students.

Related Articles


The exceptionally well preserved dinosaur, named Linheraptor exquisitus, is the first near complete skeleton of its kind to be found in the Gobi desert since 1972, and will help scientists work out the appearance of other closely related dinosaur species.

Linheraptor is in the Dromaeosauridae family of the carnivorous theropod dinosaurs and lived during the Late Cretaceous period. In addition to Linheraptor and Velociraptor, theropod dinosaurs include charismatic meat-eaters like Tyrannosaurus rex and modern birds.

The two PhD students, Michael Pittman from UCL (University College London) and Jonah Choiniere from George Washington University (GWU), found the dinosaur sticking out of a cliff face during a field project in Inner Mongolia, China. Their research is published online in the journal Zootaxa.

"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," said Michael Pittman, a PhD student in the UCL Department of Earth Sciences who was the co-discoverer of the dinosaur.

"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. My thesis is on the evolution and biomechanics of dinosaur tails but the carnivorous dinosaurs are my favourite and my specialty," he added.

At approximately 2.5 metres long and 25 kilograms, the researchers believe Linheraptor would have been a fast, agile predator that preyed on small horned dinosaurs related to Triceratops. Like other dromaeosaurids, it possessed a large "killing claw" on the foot, which may have been used to capture prey. Within the Dromaeosauridae family, Linheraptor is most closely related to another recently discovered species Tsaagan mangas.

Linheraptor differs from all other dromaeosaurs because of a triangular hole in front of the eye socket called the antorbital fenestra, which is a space in the skull that sinuses would have occupied. In Linheraptor this triangular hole is divided into two cavities -- one of which is particularly big.

"This is a really beautiful fossil and it documents a transitional stage in dromaeosaurid evolution," said Dr. Xu Xing, Professor of Palaeontology at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology (IVPP).

Linheraptor was found in rocks of the Wulansuhai Formation, part of a group of red sandstone rocks found in Inner Mongolia, China during a field expedition by the researchers in 2008. It is the fifth dromaeosaurid discovered in these rocks, which are famous for their preservation of uncrushed, complete skeletons.

The research was done as part of the Inner Mongolia Research project, led by Dr. Xu, which aims to better understand the Late Cretaceous ecosystem of Inner Mongolia, China which is analogous but less well-studied than the well known Late Cretaceous ecosytem of Outer Mongolia. The research was funded by the Geological Society of London, the US National Science Foundation, the Chinese National Science Foundation, and George Washington University.

A short video of Michael Pittman describing the discovery is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ6cvhVikjA


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xing Xu, Jonah N. Choiniere, Michael Pittman, Qingwei Tan, Dong Xiao, Zhiquan Li, Lin Tan, James M. Clark, Mark A. Norell, David W. E. Hone, Corwin Sullivan. A new dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous Wulansuhai Formation of Inner Mongolia, China. Zootaxa, 2010; 2403: 1-9 [link]

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Students discover new species of raptor dinosaur in Inner Mongolia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100319085257.htm>.
University College London. (2010, March 19). Students discover new species of raptor dinosaur in Inner Mongolia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100319085257.htm
University College London. "Students discover new species of raptor dinosaur in Inner Mongolia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100319085257.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins