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Balaclav

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Balaclav

The balaclav lives in small family groups in the highest mountains. It can often be seen trekking across snowfields and glaciers from one lichen-covered rock or mossy hollow to another. It can subsist on a very poor diet. Layers of fat insulate the balaclav, and the hair-like proto-feathers on the tail and feet help it to grip icy surfaces. Its broad beak and the spade-like nails on the three middle fingers enable it to scrape up lichens and moss, while the longer claws are used for digging up alpine plants.

The Balaclav, Nivesaurus yetiforme, is a black, mountain-dwelling thescelosaur from the tundra and alpine of northwestern and Western North America, in The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution.

The tangle of the braided Rocky Mountain chain in the western third of the North American continent is relatively new, thrust up to its present height only in Late Cretaceous times. The open river plains of the Jurassic and the steamy forests of the Cretaceous period (the habitats of the most prolific dinosaur communities in the past) are now craggy mountains, clothed in glaciers and snow. A few non-avian dinosaurs adapted to this new environment, moving in from the regions round about and adopting a lifestyle that would support them there. One such is the 2-meter (6 1/2 feet) -long balaclav, one of the specialized modern basal ornithopods. It evolved insulating layers of fat and fur-like protofeathers, an ability to eat the alpine plants including mosses, and a compact shape to preserve its body heat.

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