Published On: Fri, Dec 8th, 2017

Scientists Discover New Species Of Dinosaur, A Duck-Like Raptor So Peculiar It Was Initially Dubbed A Fake

The nearly-complete fossil of Halszkaraptor escuilliei, still embedded in rock.

The fossil of this bizarre duck-like dinosaur was uncovered in Ukhaa Tolgod, a dinosaur graveyard in southern Mongolia. The curios fossil had circulated on the black market for years, but the creature seemed so outlandish that scientists were convinced it was a sophisticated forgery.

That is, until they took a closer look at it with ultrapowerful X-rays and found it to be genuine, reveals a new study, published on Wednesday (December 6) in the journal Nature.

The strange fossil belongs to a 75 million-year-old predator which researchers have named Halszkaraptor escuilliei, or “Halszka” for short — in honor of Halszka Osmólska, a Polish paleontologist specialized in Mongolian dinosaurs, and François Escuillié, who rescued the fossil from poachers and returned it to Mongolia, Live Science reports.

According to study senior author Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, the exceptionally well-preserved dinosaur skeleton had been illegally exported from Mongolia and held in private collections worldwide until 2015.

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Scientists Discover New Species Of Dinosaur, A Duck-Like Raptor So Peculiar It Was Initially Dubbed A Fake