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A team of Asian paleontologists has discovered a new species of dinosaur, Corythoraptor jacobsi, which has a crest on its skull very similar to the cassowary helmet, a flightless bird from the rainforests of New Guinea and Australia.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, describe this oviraptor species –A genus of the family Oviraptoridae that lived in the late cretaceous period- from a specimen found in Jiangxi province, China.
Junchang Lü, study leader and expert in palaeoecology, explains that this dinosaur resembles modern cassowaries not only because of its crest, but also because of its neck (twice as long as its dorsal vertebra) and because of its morphology.
Scientists believe that the specimen found is an immature individual that would be at least eight years old and suggest that the crest of this dinosaur has a function similar to that of cassowaries.
The Corythoraptor used the ridges to communicate and display
Comparing the internal structure of the hull of this oviraptor with that of modern cassowaries, experts believe both could have had the same function. Thus, they suggest that the crest plays a multifunctional role and that both animals use it to communicate and to display themselves during the mating season.
According to the study authors: “Phylogenetic analyzes show that this new oviraptorid taxon is related to the Huanansaurus that inhabited the Ganzhou region”.
The discovery of Corythoraptor jacobsi provides evidence that oviraptor dinosaurs were morphologically and taxonomically much more diverse in the Ganzhou area than in any other region in the world, paleontologists conclude.
Junchang Lü, et al. "High diversity of the Ganzhou Oviraptorid Fauna increased by a new" cassowary-like "crested species". Scientific Reports (2017).
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