The giant raptor is 17 feet long and lived 66 million years ago
A team of archeologists led by University of Kansas has discovered a giant raptor in the region of South Dakota.
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The raptor, named Dakotaraptor, lived some 66 million years ago and was about 17 feet long with claws nearly 10 inches, making it the largest dinosaur ever found with wing feathers.
"This Cretaceous period raptor would have been lightly built and probably just as agile as the vicious, smaller theropods, such as the Velociraptor.” Robert De Palma, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History and lead author of the study explained.
The fossil recovered in Hell Creek Formation suggests that its size was massive for a raptor but small for large theropod and it was somewhere between the two groups of dinosaurs.
"This new predatory dinosaur also fills the body size gap between smaller theropods and large tyrannosaurs that lived at this time.” Co- author David Burnham from Kansas University said.
The study also suggests that giant beast must have evolved several times before creating the lineage of modern birds.
Dakotaraptor forearms have quill knobs which indicate that feathers were attached with them but it might not been able to fly.
“The size and proportions of Dakotaraptor almost certainly preclude its potential for flight,” authors wrote in study
“Rather, it is more plausible that Dakotaraptor descended from an evolutionary line that already possessed flight or that was already sufficiently close to attaining it that it had evolved a suite of advanced adaptations for its facilitation.”
Authors suggest that further studies may provide clues to the missing links and better understanding of the evolution of flight
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“Subsequent studies of Dakotaraptor and the Hell Creek fauna may aid in our understanding of the circumstances that prompted dromaeosaurids to retain ligamental architecture for feather attachment, and may also provide information critical to a more accurate understanding of the lost capacity for flight.” Study concludes.