Paleontologists have discovered a strange-looking new dinosaur species that has amazed experts and boasts quite the odd origin story.
Dubbed 'Halszkaraptor escuilliei,' or simply Halszka for short, the creature somewhat resembles a modern day swan yet sports flipper-like 'arms' as well as monstrous claws on its feet.
The dinosaur's snout also garnered interest from experts as it boasts crocodile-like teeth lurking beneath what looks to be a beak.
Believed to be a relative of the infamous velociraptor, researchers say that the creature was likely amphibious, which would make it only the second such dinosaur ever discovered.
What also makes the Halszka rather exceptional is how it wound up in the hands of paleontologists in the first place.
The fossilized remains of the creature are thought to have been originally found in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, but were secreted away from the site by smugglers.
From there, the eye-catching creature apparently bounced around the fossil black market for years until it was spotted by a diligent dinosaur researcher who managed to purchase the piece so that it could be studied.
Using advanced imaging techniques, scientists were able to examine the remains of the dinosaur without the disturbing the rock around it and ultimately concluded that it was an exotic new species.
Not all scientists are convinced of their findings, however, as some paleontologists say that the fossil could be an elaborate hoax created using different dinosaur bones fused together.
While that may be the case, especially since such an oddity would have likely fetched a high price on the black market where it once was sold, the researchers who studied the Halszka are confident that it is genuine.
Should that be the case, it raises the question of what other unseen wonders might be on display in the proverbial man caves of wealthy eccentrics who collect such curious specimens.
Source: The Guardian