New Dinosaur Species with a Parrot-like Beak and Two Fingers Discovered in Gobi Desert
Long ago, it was believed that all dinosaurs were humongous, fierce creatures. After centuries of digging, digital reconstructions, geographic, historic, biological data and so many other advancements, we know dinosaurs were about as diverse any group of reptiles could ever be.
Every year, we learn something new that was previously never known. One such new discovery is of a two-fingered, toothless, dinosaur in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Multiple skeletons were uncovered at the site and the species has been christened Oksoko avarsan. It is believed they wandered the Earth more than 68 million years ago.
Their analysis reveals that these omnivorous creatures had feathers and could grow up to two metres long. Their forearms bore only two functional digits and they possessed a large, toothless beak not much different than we see in parrots of this age.
The fossils, according to the researchers, were “remarkably well-preserved.” They are also first proof of digit-loss in oviraptors, the previous three-fingered dinosaurs. The oviraptors were also discovered in Mongolia.
The forelimb adaption must have been a part of the dino-evolution, the researchers suggest. This adaptation, lifestyle and diet could have been altered and allowed them to multiply and diversify.
The study was led by Dr Gregory Funston from the School of Geosciences, The University of Edinburgh. “Oksoko avarsan is interesting because the skeletons are very complete and the way they were preserved resting together shows that juveniles roamed together in groups,” he said as quoted on Cambridgenews.uk. He added that their two-digit hand motivated them to explore how forelimbs, especially hand, must have adapted during the evolution of oviraptors.
These animals were extremely diverse before what happened that eliminated all dinosaurs from the Earth. This discovery is also important because the division of Pangea was in its later stages during this time. The dinosaur’s arm adaptations changed in relation to the migration of its species to what is now North America and Gobi Desert.
Discoveries like these also help cement the fact the birds did evolve from a group of late-cretaceous dinosaurs.