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Feb 05, 2016 12:34 PM EST

Wildebeest-Like Ancient Animal Had Unique Duckbilled Snout like a Dinosaur


A team of researchers identified an ancient animal that seems to resemble a wildebeest, but had a duckbilled snout like a dinosaur's.

According to Reuters, the researchers named the animal Rusingoryx and detailed its unique nasal canal in a study published in the journal Current Biology. The crest on Rusingoryx's head resembled that of the hadrosaur, but it likely had more in common.

"The thing that's really remarkable is that lambeosaurine hadrosaurs are the only other animals that we know of that have a similar feature," study co-author Daniel Peppe, an associate professor of geology at Baylor University's College of Arts and Sciences and co-director of the project, said in a press release. "This is a fantastic example of convergent evolution, which occurs when different animals end up evolving the same features independently. In this case, dinosaurs and bovids are obviously not closely related."

The Rusingoryx had a hollow nasal structure likely produced a low, booming sound capable of carrying over a great distance in order to communicate with the whole heard. The animal's fossil dates back about 55,000 to 75,000 years ago.

"People have reconstructed that hadrosaurs were herbivores and likely lived in large herds in relatively open environments, and we think this was the case for the Rusingoryx," Peppe said. "It seems likely that they both experienced the same evolutionary pressures to evolve a nasal crest that allowed vocalization. There are probably very few ways for animals to evolve these features and that if or when they do, it will happen in a similar way."

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