Velociraptor's closest cousin discovered by scientists

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London, March 19 (ANI): A team of scientists has discovered a new species of dinosaur that was closely related to the Velociraptor.

According to a report by BBC News, the researchers discovered the dinosaur's exquisitely well-preserved skeleton in sediments dating from the Upper Cretaceous period in Inner Mongolia.

The fossilised skeleton was in almost perfect condition, with complete claws and teeth, despite being between 145 and 65 million years old.

The 1.8m-long predator was a dromaeosaurid - a family of theropod dinosaurs from which modern birds descended.

Its examination was led by Xing Xu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

He and his colleagues described several distinguishing features, particularly of its jaw and feet, that enabled them to identify it as a dromaeosaurid - a name that means "running lizard".

It had, for example, what the researchers described as "raptorial claws" on its feet.

The highly evolved predator, which has been named Linheraptor exquisitus represents an entirely new genus within that family.

"Linheraptor is similar to Velociraptor in many features," according to the scientists.

They pointed out, however, that it was not Velociraptor's closest relative within the dromaeosaurid family. (ANI)

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