Scientists Unveil New and Improved Velociraptor Cousin

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Now with two scary claws!

Astute dino-observers know that Velociraptors actually weren’t as scary as Steven Spielberg and Jurassic Park would have you believe. In real life, the dinosaur was the size of a turkey and was probably covered with feathers; comedian Dan Telfer calls it “the Tonya Harding of the dinosaur kingdom.” What an image problem! Fortunately, dino scientists have unveiled a newer, tougher dinosaur cousin to burnish Velociraptor’s flagging brand. Introducing: Baulor bondoc!

The new Creataceous-era dinosaur lived in what is now Romania and is estimated to have been between six and seven feet long, with legs that were shorter and thicker than those of its diminutive relative. Large muscle attachment areas in its hips suggest the beast was stronger — but slower — than Velociraptor.

“Compared to Velociraptor, Balaur was probably more of a kickboxer than a sprinter,” said researcher Stephen Brusatte of Columbia University, using a peculiar combination of sports and animals. In fact, that’s probably the scariest combination of sports and animals ever imagined, just edging out javelin-throwing orangutans and pool-playing tiger sharks.

But the story gets worse: Baulor bondoc‘s most notable body part was the addition of a second large claw on its big toe. Though scientists won’t speculate how the beast hunted and killed, all NewsFeed can think is: Two claws! Mathematically, we don’t know if that is exactly twice as terrifying, but we’re sure that it is close.

Small bones belonging to the dinosaur were first discovered a decade ago, but it took Romanian geologist Mátyás Vremir unearthing a partial skeleton last year for scientists to know how to put them together. (Baulor bondoc roughly means ‘stocky dragon’ in Romanian.) Romania was an archipelago back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, which resulted an astounding amount of Mesozoic-era diversity on the region.

Velociraptor shouldn’t feel too insecure about its newer, bigger cousin, though. As long as there is the Internet, there will always be people who discover the pictures of a team of the dinos wrestling Bea Arthur. (via LiveScience)