A study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, described an incomplete skeleton of an oviraptorosaur from the Late Cretaceous found in the Nemegt Formation of the Gobi desert.
Despite the abundance of nearly complete oviraptorosaur skeletons discovered in southern China and Mongolia, the diet and feeding strategies of these toothless dinosaurs are still unclear, said Yuong-Nam Lee from Seoul National University, South Korea.
The new species, named Gobiraptor minutus, can be distinguished from other oviraptorosaurs in having unusual thickened jaws.
This unique morphology suggests that Gobiraptor used a crushing feeding strategy, supporting previous hypotheses that oviraptorosaurs probably fed on hard food items such as eggs, seeds or hard-shell mollusks, researchers said.
Histological analyses of the femur revealed that the specimen likely belonged to a very young individual.
The finding of a new oviraptorosaur species in the Nemegt Formation, which consists mostly of river and lake deposits, confirms that these dinosaurs were extremely well adapted to wet environments.
The researchers propose that different dietary strategies may explain the wide taxonomic diversity and evolutionary success of this group in the region.
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