A small, chicken-sized dinosaur that lived 100 million years ago has been unearthed by scientists in Mongolia.

It had huge shell crushing jaws and probably fed on eggs, seeds and molluscs thanks to its powerful mouth muscles, overcoming the fact it had no teeth.

It has been named Gobiraptor minutus after the Gobi desert where it was dug up.

Resembling a giant chicken, it was a member of the crested oviraptorosaurs that featured in Jurassic Park.

The fact it would have eaten shellfish that it could easily crack open sheds fresh light on their lifestyle, scientists say.

Some have suggested they were herbivores as the skull would not have enabled meat-eating but scientists disagree on this and say it likely ate both plants and animals.

Gobiraptor’s incomplete skeleton was found at a site known as the Nemegt Formation which has provided a treasure trove of fossils.

The oviraptorosaurs lived during the Cretaceous period, which spans the period from 79 to 145 million years ago.

Palaeontologist Professor Yuong-Nam Lee, of Seoul National University in South Korea, said: ‘The individual was likely a juvenile.’

But there was enough of the skull and other bone parts for the team to produce an artist’s impression of how it looked.

Original Source


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