Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Raptors just keep getting nastier

Take this one, for example. This newly described 2-meter-long dinosaur, Talos sampsoni, has the characteristic hooked talons of its kind, but the middle toe really looks oversized, and damage to it shows the animal had put it to use in combat. This "switchblade" claw was held off the ground when walking. The species was discovered in southern Utah by a scientist looking for fossil turtles. Most related species have been described based on fossils from Asia, and the author of the study on this one says, "Finding a decent specimen of this type of dinosaur in North America is like a lighting strike. It's a random event of thrilling proportions."

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