New fossilized species of winged dinosaur unearthed in China

New fossilized species of winged dinosaur unearthed in China

A recent excavation at a construction site in Southern China led to the discovery of a new fossilized species of a winged dinosaur that mired in mud and died 66-72 million years ago, Dr. Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh reported.

As the winged creature, dubbed Tongtianlong limosus, died after becoming mired in mud, researchers nicknamed it as the 'Mud Dragon.'

The fossilized skeleton of the two-legged Mud Dragon was reportedly lying on its back with its wings outspread and neck arched. The researchers also found a crest of bone on extinct creature's head. Researchers say it would use crest to attract mates or scare enemies.

The winged creature belonged to a class of dinosaurs known as oviraptorid. The oviraptorids were close cousins to birds, but they were not able to fly. They had a sharp, toothless beak capable of swallowing shellfish, plants, eggs and nuts.

Paleontologist Brusatte, who co-authored the study, said, "The posture of the animal - the head is standing up, the neck is arched, the arms are spread out to the sides - it looks like it's trying to free itself. Those signs make us think that it was stuck in mud and trying to get out."

Researchers believe that oviraptorids were thriving nearly 15 million years before the huge comet that erased the dinosaurs from Earth hit Mexico. They are also hopeful that the discovery of the new fossil will provide a glimpse of these last surviving dinosaurs.

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