London: Palaeontologists have claimed that a species of bird-like dinosaur acted like Las Vegas showgirls by wiggling tail feathers to attract mates.
A new research, by the University of Alberta, has found that Oviraptor dinosaurs had a fan of feathers, similar to the fan of a flamenco dancer, attached to a flexible tail, the `Daily Mail` reported.
They may have flashed these feathers to attract attention in a similar way to the modern-day peacock -- or a Las Vegas showgirl, say the palaeontologists who found that Oviraptors, which lived 75 million years ago, had tails with a peculiarly
dense arrangement of bones.
"The tail of an Oviraptor by comparison to the tail of most other dinosaurs is pretty darn short," Scott Persons, who led the research team, said.
He added: "But it`s not short in that it`s missing a whole bunch of vertebrae, it`s short in that the individual vertebra within the tail themselves are sort of squashed together. So they`re densely packed.
"This dense arrangement of bones would have made the tails flexible."
The bird-like dinosaurs also had tails that were much more muscly than those belonging to modern-day reptiles. Fossil impressions show they also boasted a fan of feathers at the end of their tails, attached to fused vertebrae similar to that found in the tails of today`s birds.
"If you combine that with having a muscular, very flexible tail, what you have is a tail that could, potentially at least, have been used to flaunt, to wave that tail-feather fan," Persons said.
And just like modern-day birds, the dinosaurs may well have waved their tail fans to impress potential mates.
Persons added: "If you think about things like peacocks, they often use their tails in courtship displays."
Oviraptors lived in the late Cretaceous Period. Their name is Latin for "egg thief" as the first specimen was found near a pile of eggs as if it had stolen them.
Subsequent discoveries revealed they were likely dinosaur`s own, though scientists are still unsure of whether its diet would have included eggs.