Noodle-necked swimming dinosaur may have been a diving predator like a penguin

A dinosaur with an undulating noodle neck and a streamlined body like those of modern diving birds may have plunged through the depths of a Cretaceous sea about 71 million to 72 million years ago, in what is now Mongolia. This predator belonged to a different lineage of theropods — bipedal and mostly meat-eating dinosaurs — than the one that produced modern birds, but its body shape and limbs hint that it swam and dove as a penguin does, scientists recently discovered.

The skeleton was in exceptional condition with a near-complete skull. It was excavated from the Baruungoyot (also spelled Barun Goyot) Formation, a location in the southern part of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert dating to the Cretaceous period (145 million to 66 million years ago). In life, it would have been about the size of a mallard duck, and researchers noted that its gooselike neck, flipperlike forelimbs and proportions of its digits resembled those of the Mongolian theropod genus Halszkaraptor, which is thought to be aquatic.

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