New “Feathered Raptor” Species of Dinosaur Discovered in New Mexico
A new type of Dinausar that lived nearly 70 million years ago has been discovered in New Mexico. The Warrior-type dinosaur is thought to have been a fearless, feathered hypercarnivore. The newly discovered species officially dubbed Dineobellator notohesperus is the latest predator dinosaur uncovered by experts.
The ‘Dineobellator notohesperus’ adds to scientists’ understanding of the palaeobiodiversity of the American Southwest, offering researchers a much clearer picture of what life was like in this particular area, near the end of the reign of dinosaurs, approximately 67 million years ago.
Steven Jasinski, who recently completed his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the School of Arts and Sciences, led the work to describe the new species.
In 2008, Sullivan came across fossils of the new species embedded in Cretaceous rocks in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico. He, along with his field team of, collected the specimen on United States federal land with a permit issued by the Office of Land Administration.
The entire specimen was recovered during four field seasons. ‘Dineobellator notohesperus,’ means ‘Southwest Navajo warrior,’ and was given to the new Dinosaur species in honor of people who today live in the same region where this dinosaur once lived.
The ‘Dineobellator,’ as well as its cousin, the ‘Velociraptor,’ belongs to a group of dinosaurs known as the ‘Dromaeosauridae.’ Members of this group are commonly known as the ‘kidnapping’ dinosaurs, thanks to movies like ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Jurassic World.’ But unlike the terrifying beasts depicted in the film, the ‘Dineobellator’ measured approximately 6.5 feet (2 meters) long, about 3 feet (1 m) tall at the hip and weighed about 40-50 lbs. (18-22 kilograms), which, as put by LiveScience, means that the dino weighed nom more than a female poodle.
Predatory dinosaurs are generally small and lightly built predators. Consequently, his remains are rare, particularly from the southwestern United States and Mexico.
“While dromaeosaurids are best known in places like the northern United States, Canada, and Asia, little is known about the southernmost group in North America,” explained Jasinski.
While not all of this dinosaur’s bones were recovered, the forearm bones have folds (small bumps on the surface where the feathers would be anchored by ligaments), an indication that ‘Dineobellator’ had feathers in life, similar to those inferred for velociraptors. The characteristics of the animal’s forelimbs, including enlarged claw areas, suggest that this dinosaur could flex its arms strongly.
This ability may have been useful for holding on to prey, using its hands for smaller animals like birds and lizards. Its tail also possessed unique characteristics. While most of the birds of prey’s tails were straight and stiff with rod-like structures, the tail of the Dineobellator was quite flexible at its base, allowing the rest of the tail to remain stiff and act as a kind of rudder.
“Other members of this group of dinosaurs tend to have straight, stiff tails that are reinforced with rod-like features made of bones and tendons,” Jasinski explained.
“If you think of videos of cheetahs pursuing prey like gazelles, their tail tends to stay relatively straight but whip around as the cheetah quickly changes direction. Dineobellator would have had a similar ability to quickly change directions during a pursuit,” he said.
Although much has been discovered about the new species, David Evans, chair of vertebrate paleontology and deputy head of the Department of Natural History at Royal Ontario Museum in Canada warns that it is too premature to assess the creature’s strength and characteristics.
The study describing the new species of Dinosaurs was published in Scientific Reports.