Some 70 million years ago, huge dinosaurs roamed the territory of modern America. Some of them were not particularly mobile and ate plants, but among them were real bloodthirsty monsters like tyrannosaurs. But did you know that the lives of ordinary animals and herbivorous dinosaurs were threatened not only by these monsters but also by feathered predators no more than one meter tall? The remains of one of these creatures, similar to muscular ducks or geese, were found in 2008 in the US state of New Mexico. The official name was given to them only recently when scientists found in the signs of the ability to hunt even very large animals.
Researchers already initially knew that the dinosaurs they found were no more than one meter tall and belonged to the genus Dromaeosaurid. The name of the species from Greek can be translated as “lizards-runners” and it very accurately describes their mode of movement. So, Velociraptors belonging to dromaeosaurids once lived long ago even in the territory of present-day Russia and attacked victims, running at rather high speeds. It is known that the bodies of velociraptors were covered with feathers, so they are considered the closest dinosaurs to modern birds.
New dinosaur species discovered
A new relative of ancient velociraptors was called Dineobellator notohesperus. According to the science publication ScienceAlert, its name can be translated as “Navajo warrior from the southwest.” It’s also a very due name, because these creatures, judging by the structure of their skeleton, were excellent warriors. In total, scientists unearthed about 20 bones, combining which they came to the conclusion that the new species of dinosaurs was stronger and more agile than velociraptors.
According to paleontologist Stephen Jasinski, the form of muscle and tendon attachment in the bones of the hands and feet indicates that the new Dineobellator notohesperus could even capture large and strong prey with its paws. The dinosaur also had a stiff tail, with which it could maintain balance during fast running and sharp turns. According to scientists, these creatures hunted for prey the way agile cheetahs hunt fast gazelles in the African savannahs today.
Cheetahs are very fast, and their tail can be stiff and straight. When the runaway gazelle changes direction, the cheetah must do the same quickly. His rigid tail turns and begins to act as a counterweight and a steering wheel that help him maintain balance, the scientists explained.
The new relative of the Velociraptors obviously scared many large animals, but he himself also had dangerous enemies. This is evidenced by traces of injuries on the bones – injuries were found on the ribs and claws of a feathered dinosaur. However, dinosaurs of this species often fought among themselves for a variety of reasons. For example, they could enter into an internecine battle for prey or trying to attract the attention of females.
In general, the discovery of a new species of dromaeosaurids is an important event in the scientific community. The fact is that their number was not particularly high. In addition, these dinosaurs had small and fairly fragile bones that could not survive to this day.
The fact that it is very difficult to detect the bones of small dinosaurs was already described in one of the previous materials. It was about the smallest dinosaur, whose growth did not exceed 5 centimeters. But it is interesting that despite its rather tiny size, this creature could even attack the snakes that lived millions of years ago.