Dromaeosaurus means running reptiles. It was one of the fastest and most intelligent dinosaurs. It advanced with great leaps like a kangaroo, propelling itself with its strong hindquarters.
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Dromaeosaurus had light bones and long hind legs, which allowed it to outrun other dinosaurs.
When it ran, it did not rest the soles of its feet but the instep to protect the fearsome weapon of its second toe, a sickle-shaped claw that is used as an automatic knife to stab its prey.
Experts believe it is hunted in groups. When it found a young herbivore grazing, the group would pounce on it by surprise.
Even a dinosaur two or three times its size would soon be weakened by the slashes of so many lacerating claws. The victim would not be able to shake off his swift attackers before he bled to death.
It used the three long-clawed toes of its forelegs as hooks to hang on to its prey while tearing at its prey’s flesh with the claws of its hind legs.
The rounded ossicles on the wrists allowed it to hold on tightly. It is probably also hung by its tail to hinder its prey. Not even light-footed dinosaurs were safe from this dinosaur.
A hunter needs very keen senses and to stay alert. It had perfect eyesight to spot danger and the fastest prey.
When they spotted a victim, they reacted quickly and hunted. With their terrible combination of teeth and claws, they were unbeatable rivals for most herbivores.
The tail was long and held upright when running. The bones at the tip were thin as rods, while they were much more flexible next to the body.
The tail balanced its body so that it would not stumble when chasing prey. Some experts believe that the tail may have served another purpose.
When running after prey, it had to be able to change direction abruptly, without stopping. Indeed, by flicking its tail to one side, it was able to turn quickly.
It had a long, rounded snout and powerful jaw muscles. It could open its mouth wide and close it with great force, biting off large chunks of its victim’s flesh.
Like other carnivores, it had sharp curved teeth, slightly inclined backward, which sunk like anchors into the flesh, and the dinosaur could tear it off.
This dinosaur is considered to be one of the most closely related to birds. When this dinosaur was discovered in 1914, some scientists believed it was a carnosaur.
Others thought it might be a coelurosaur. Half a century later, when Deinonychus, a relative, was discovered, scientists decided it shared characteristics with this dinosaur, Velociraptor, and a few others.
All these dinosaurs form an independent group called dromaeosaurids, which also gives this dinosaur its name.
It was almost 2 meters long, and walking at an average pace would reach an adult’s waist. It lived 80 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, in Alberta, Canada.