Washington, December 21 (ANI): Scientists have identified a new bird, nicknamed the 'Screaming Roadrunner', which roamed among dinosaurs 71 to 75 million years ago.
According to a report in Discovery News, the fossils of the bird were originally found in the southern Gobi Desert in 1997.
The new species, which lived 71 to 75 million years ago, has been named Hollanda luceria, after the punk/country band Lucero and the Holland family, whose donations helped to support the research.
"Judging from the size of the hindlimb, Hollanda luceria most closely resembled the modern Southern Screamer," project leader Alyssa Bell, a researcher in the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, told Discovery News.
The modern Southern Screamer's call has been likened to a blaring trumpet and a stadium horn.
For the study, Bell and her team analyzed the bird's remains, which were originally found in the southern Gobi Desert in 1997.
Previous research on avian anatomy concluded that bones in the third toe reflect how much time the bird spent moving on the ground.
The scientists studied these bones and compared them with those of other birds.
Bell said that the data "shows that our new bird was most likely a ground-foraging bird like a roadrunner or a chucao, implying that it spent a great deal of its time foraging or hunting on the ground."
Other fossils excavated at the site reveal that the newly identified bird was part of an ecosystem consisting of dinosaurs, such as Protoceratops and Velociraptor, mammals, lizards and other birds, like waterfowl Teviornis and the large, clawed Gobipteryx.
According to Bell, H. luceria preyed upon dinosaur eggs, "as they would have been too large for the bird to swallow; however, it probably would have been an active hunter of the small lizards and mammals as well as insects that lived in the environment."
"Hollanda's environment would have consisted of sand dunes, which had been stabilized by a covering of vegetation, and a continuous water supply that formed shifting streams and ponds," she said.
"It has very long legs compared to other birds known from the time and, from this part of the world, shows that early in their evolutionary history birds had evolved a range of ecological adaptations like fast 'road running'," said Gareth Dyke, a paleontologist at University College Dublin. (ANI)