In this Oct. 29, 2015 photo provided by Robert DePalma, DePalma, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History, examines the fierce foot claw of a newly discovered species of raptor called Dakotaraptor in West Palm Beach, Fla. The fossils were unearthed from the Hell Creek Formation in northwestern South Dakota. (Kylie Ruble/Robert DePalma via AP)
By DIRK LAMMERS, Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Tyrannosaurus rex may have been known as the big guy around the Hell Creek Formation 66 million years ago, but a newly discovered species of raptor would have roamed nearby as one of the region’s most lethal predators.
Dakotaraptor stood 6 feet tall at the hips yet moved like a springy, agile sprinter. But the winged Dromaeosaur’s 9½-inch-long killing claw could make mincemeat out of any herbivore in its path.
Vertebrate paleontology curator Robert DePalma of Palm Beach Museum of Natural History and researchers including University of Kansas paleontologists announced the new species in a recently published study.
Dakotaraptor helps fill a gap in body size distribution between small Maniraptora creatures and the T. rex in Hell Creek, which spans parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.
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