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Linheraptor Dinosaur species: Terrifying Linheraptor discovered

A British Phd student has discovered a terrifying new species of dinosaur in China, an eight-foot long creature with scythe-like claws.

Michael Pittman and an American colleague stumbled on the near-complete fossil skeleton of Linheraptor exquisitus during a field trip to Inner Mongolia and found that the creature is related to the Velociraptor, one of the frightening stars of the film "Jurassic Park", reports dailymail.co.uk.

Like its famous cousin, Linheraptor had a large curved toe claw on each foot which may have been used to dispatch prey.

The 25 kilogram (55 pound) dinosaur, which lived 75 million years ago, would have been agile and swift on its feet.

Pittman, from University College London, said it was a childhood dream come true to discover the animal's fossil bones sticking out of a cliff face.

He was visiting the Wulansuhai Formation, a site of red sandstone rocks in Inner Mongolia where a number of other dinosaur finds have been made, with Jonah Choiniere from George Washington University.

"Jonah saw a claw protruding from the cliff face. He carefully removed it and handed it to me. We went through its features silently but he wanted my identification first... I told him it was from a carnivorous dinosaur and when he agreed I'm surprised nobody in London heard us shouting," said Pittman recalling the discovery.

"I've always wanted to discover a dinosaur since I was a kid, and I've never given up on the idea. It was amazing that my first discovery was from a Velociraptor relative," he added.

Choiniere also echoed the same.

"It was a total surprise that the whole skeleton was buried deeper in the rock. This fossil is going to tell us a lot about the evolution of the skeleton in the group that includes Velociraptor," he said.

Both Linheraptor and Velociraptor are dromaeosaurids, an extended family of meat-eating bird-like dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period.

Linheraptor is the fifth dromaeosaurid to be unearthed from the Wulansuhai Formation.

It is most closely related to the species Tsaagan mangas discovered in Mongolia in 1993.

Professor Xu Xing, from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, China, who heads an investigation into the region's dinosaur history, said: "This is a really beautiful fossil and it documents a transitional stage in dromaeosaurid evolution." (News:IANS Image: NatGeo)

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