What was 11 meters (36ft) long, had a sail on its back, and had arms bigger than an adult human?
Yep, the big paleo news this weekend was the official announcement of some new fossil material for this particular dinosaur.
Deinocheirus (“terrible hand”) came from the Late Cretaceous of the Gobi desert, about 70 million years ago. Originally discovered in 1965, the only bones known were a set of enormous arms and a few scattered ribs and vertebrae. It was a long-standing mystery for paleontologists. Was it a megalosaur? A carnosaur? Some new type of theropod altogether? A predator or a herbivore?
Some more recent studies suggested it might be an ornithomimosaur, albeit a fairly primitive one based on the arm anatomy. With the two new specimens that have been found, we’ve now got confirmation of that placement — Deinocheirus really was an enormous “ostrich mimic”, the largest known for that group.
And it had a sail-back.
I don’t think anybody was expecting that.
Probably my favorite Deinocheirus yet!