Prehistoric bird splashed down in Saskatchewan
Brodavis americanus looked like a loon
Scientists say they've discovered a new species of prehistoric bird with a Saskatchewan connection.
Brodavis americanus, a toothy, loon-like bird, splashed through rivers and lakes in the region around the same era as Tyrannosaurus rex and other big dinosaurs.
Fossils of the dino-bird turned up in Grasslands National Park in southwestern Saskatchewan, as well as other parts of North America.
On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan government hailed the discovery as a triumph for the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM), the province's main centre for dinosaur research.
Brodavis americanus was identified recently in a paper in the scientific journal Palaeoworld by authors Larry Martin of Kansas University, the late Evgeny Kurochkin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Tim Tokaryk of the RSM.
They say americanus is one of four species belonging to the newly discovered Brodavidae family. Other species are found in the United States and Mongolia.
Tokaryk said while similar prehistoric birds that lived on coastal areas were flightless, it's possible Brodavis americanus adapted and could fly.
Scientists want to know what happened to the birds near the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago when many dinosaurs became extinct, he said.
Research on the Saskatchewan fossils continues in Eastend in the province's southwest.