Who said that paleontologists and other scientists already know everything about dinosaurs? Those giant creatures that dominated the Earth for about 165 million years left plenty of fossils that can be used for examination. We might be amazed by the ferocity of Tyrannosaurus rex, Utahraptor, or Velociraptor. We are indeed fascinated by the sizes of the titanosaur Argentinosaurus huinculensis. But nature always has more to impress us with.
Paleontologists unearthed the fossil belonging to a new species of dinosaur from the Hell Creek Formation from Montana. It impressed due to its small size and the curved hook present on each of its arms.
Meet the ‘Captain Hook’ dinosaur
The newly discovered dinosaur was named in honor of the famous character ‘Captain Hook’. And yes, you’ve already guessed the reason. It was because its hooked claw mentioned earlier. The more scientific moniker of the creature is Trirarchuncus prairiensis, and it’s a member of alvarezsaurida. The dinosaur also has other characteristics that cannot be found on most of the ancient reptiles: it’s covered with sleek feathers and possesses two short arms. The long claw from each arm of the dinosaur is used for digging in search of insects to nurture itself.
The researchers involved released the following statements:
This is important as it is recognized that dinosaurs changed in shape, often significantly, as they grew,
Indeed, the new fossils show that as Trierarchuncus grew its hand claw became more robust; blood vessel grooves on the sides of the claw became more deeply embedded in bone; and the claw surface developed from being smooth in young individuals, into a rough surface texture in adults.
Scientists came with the conclusion after they unearthed three of the peculiar hand claws while excavating Hell Creek Formation from Montana. The site is littered with division of rocks from the end of the Cretaceous Period about 65.5 million years ago.
The discovery was reported in a paper from the journal Cretaceous Research.