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New “thunder-thighs” dinosaur discovered

Posted by Steve Busti
Hey, wait… “Thunder-thighs?” She’s just big-boned, alright paleontologists?
Jerks.
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A new dinosaur named Brontomerus mcintoshi, or "thunder-thighs" after its enormously powerful thigh muscles, has been discovered in Utah, USA.
A member of the long-necked sauropod group of dinosaurs which includes Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, Brontomerus may have used its powerful thighs as a weapon to kick predators, or to help travel over rough, hilly terrain, experts believe.
Brontomerus lived about 110 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous Period, and probably had to contend with fierce "raptors" such as Deinonychus and Utahraptor.
The new species is described in a paper recently published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica by an international team of scientists from Britain and the US.
The fossilised bones of two specimens of Brontomerus mcintoshi – an adult and a juvenile – were rescued from a previously looted and damaged quarry in eastern Utah by researchers from the Sam Noble Museum, US.
Paleontologists speculate that the larger specimen is the mother of the younger and would have weighed around 6 tons, about the size of a large elephant, and measured 14 meters in length.
At a third of the size, the smaller specimen would have weighed about 200kg, the size of a pony, and been 4.5m long.

“Hmm… let me just sit back in my office chair 
while this gigantic beast tramples me to death.”

The authors classified the new genus based on an incomplete skeleton including bones from the shoulder, hip, ribs, vertebrae and some unidentifiable fragments.
They used the bones to identify Brontomerus’ unique features, primarily the shape of the hip bone, which, in the case of Brontomerus, is unusually large in comparison to that of similar dinosaurs.
The wide, blade-shaped bone projects forward ahead of the hip socket, providing a proportionally massive area for the attachment of muscles.
The shape of the bone indicates that the animal would likely have had the largest leg muscles of any dinosaur in the sauropod family.
This is reflected in the name Brontomerus, which literally means "thunder-thighs." The dinosaur’s species name, mcintoshi, was chosen in honour of John "Jack" McIntosh, a retired physicist at Wesleyan University, Conn., and lifelong avocational paleontologist.
"Brontomerus mcintoshi is a charismatic dinosaur and an exciting discovery for us," said first author Dr Mike Taylor, a researcher in the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London.
"When we recognised the weird shape of the hip, we wondered what its significance might be, but we concluded that kicking was the most likely.
The kick would probably have been used when two males fought over a female, but given that the mechanics were all in place it would be bizarre if it wasn’t also used in predator defence."

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/dinosaurs/8340939/Dinosaur-discovery-new-thunder-thighs-dinosaur-discovered-by-British-scientists.html

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