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Mar 28

A Dromaeosaur Tooth is Discovered

Posted on March 28, 2018 at 2:56 PM by Bonnie Man

Earlier this month, regular Dinosaur Park visitor Teal Quinn found an unusually large dromaeosaur tooth. Once some associated fragments were reattached, the tooth measured 2.6 centimeters in length.

Dromaeosaurs (commonly called “raptors”) are meat-eating dinosaurs with large, hooked claws on each foot. They were swift and agile hunters, using a long, stiffened tail as a counterbalance when running. Examples of dromaeosaurs include Velociraptor, Microraptor, and Deinonychus. Dromaeosaurs were very closely related to birds, and their bones look very similar to those of a Thanksgiving turkey. In the late 1990s, dromaeosaur fossils from China revealed that these dinosaurs were covered in feathers. If a dromaeosaur were alive today, it would have looked like big roadrunner – except for the mouth full of sharp teeth!

Dromaeosaurs have been found all over the world, and scientists have learned to recognize their distinctive teeth. These teeth are pointed but also flat, more like knives than spikes. Tiny serrations on both sides of the tooth would have helped the predator cut through meat. In Maryland, dromaeosaur teeth are the most common meat-eating dinosaur fossils around, but vertebrae, toe bones, and claws from these dinosaurs have also been found. The teeth from Dinosaur Park come in a wide range of sizes, which may mean we have both adults and juveniles, or perhaps multiple dromaeosaur species living together!

dinosaur tooth placed next to a penny for size