This Dinosaur Fossil Was So Bizarre, Scientists Thought It Was Fake

By Laura Geggel

An enigmatic dinosaur — which sported a swan-like neck, amphibious flippers and Velociraptor-esque claws — could walk like a duck and swim like a penguin during its heyday on Earth, scientists have found after examining its fossilized remains.

In fact, the remains, which were on the black market for years, painted such a wacky image of a dinosaur that paleontologists thought it was a sophisticated fake at first.

Its discovery reveals that the bird-like dinosaur was likely semiaquatic and felt right at home in the water, the researchers said. This is surprising because the newfound species is a theropod — a group of bipedal, mostly meat-eating dinosaurs that includes Tyrannosaurus rex — and it’s thought that most theropods didn’t spend much time in the water, the researchers said. (The major exception being Spinosaurus. Also, T. rex could likely swim, fossilized underwater footprints show.)

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