|Marco Foronda |||Oct 23, 2014 08:12 AM EDT|
(Photo : nationalgeographic.com) Deinocheirus mirificus dinosaur
Paleontologists have found the rest of a Mongolian ostrich dinosaur named Deinocheirus mirificus discovered about 50 years ago, reports said on Tuesday.
Deinocheirus mirificus, which means "unusual horrible hand," was the largest known member of an ostrich-like dinosaurs group called ornithomimosaurs.
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D. mirificus, which lived around 70 million year ago, was 16 feet tall and 36 feet long and weighed 6.4 tons. The gigantic creature vaguely resembles a cross between a pumped-up prehistoric Big Bird and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, said news site Csmonitor.
In 1965, a joint expedition of Polish and Mongolian researchers uncovered initial evidence for D. mirificus that includes gigantic arms, shoulders, a few ribs and vertebrae in Mongolia's Gobi desert, also known as the Nemegt Formation.
The scientists reconstructed two partial skeletons, which were found in 2006 and 2009, together which nearly completed the picture of the mysterious creature. The team describes their reconstruction in a paper set to appear in Thursday's issue of the journal, Nature.
"Deinocheirus has remained one of the most mysterious dinosaurs in the world. We almost found the complete skeletons of D. mirificus and know now how it looked," Geological Museum Director and lead author Yuong-Nam Lee said.
The other key parts of the mysterious dinosaur were missing, however. Scientists realized illegal fossil poachers sold off the parts to private collectors, researchers reported.
Some of the missing parts from the 2009 excavation were recovered from a collector in Germany. Belgian paleontologist Pascal Godefroit recognized the missing fossils and informed Lee and other scientists.
Researchers persuaded the collector to donate the fossils and fortunately, the fossils were returned to Mongolia in May. But the 2006 fossils remain missing, Lee said.
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