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Scientists Say that Jumbo Raptor was Once Wandering in South Dakota

Update Date: Nov 10, 2015 09:32 AM EST

A new discovery has been made in South Dakota that may disrupt the scale of raptors. According to the scientists, the new animal, Dakotaraptor Steini was one of the largest in its kinds. It is predicted that the raptor was at least 17 feet long when it was alive 66-million-years ago. The researchers working on this discovery describe the raptor as a birdlike dinosaur that were known to have survived in the cretaceous age, says the paper that was published on October 30th in Paleontological Contributions. Even though the newfound Dakotaraptor may be huge for a dinosaur, but its size falls between the two groups of other raptors. Paleontologist David Burnham said in a News Release that "This new predatory dinosaur also fills the body size gap between smaller theropods and large tyrannosaurs that lived at this time", adding that even though the size may be bigger, the Dakotaraptor has similar features of the smaller raptors from that time.

Lead author of the paper, Robert DePalma said, "This Cretaceous period raptor would have been lightly built and probably just as agile as the vicious smaller theropods, such as the Velociraptor". Just like the well known Velociraptor, Dakotaraptor specie too is said to have traces of feathers that could be seen on its forearm. The new fossil that was unearthed had "quill knobs". It is this feature that confirms the feathers. The authors said, Quill knobs are "a derived character related to flight that were once thought exclusive to birds". They also said, "The size and proportions of Dakotaraptor almost certainly preclude its potential for flight". Scientists also said that "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," Which explains the evolution of flight, as reported by Christian Monitor.

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