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    Concavenator Corcovatus - The Hunchback (Dinosaur) Of Cuencia
    By News Staff | September 9th 2010 01:00 AM | 7 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    Paleontologists have released details about Concavenator corcovatus, a carnivorous humpbacked dinosaur discovered in Spain - and it oddly had both feathers and scales.

    Concavenator corcovatus was a theropod dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago.   Concavenator corcovatus translates to 'hump-backed predator from Cuenca', where it was discovered. 

    It's odd feature set includes tall vertebrae in front of the hips which formed what appear to be a hump.   The Spanish scientists who discovered it, paleontologists José Luis Sanz, Francisco Ortega and Fernando Escaso, speculated it could be a thermal regulator while others say it could simply be cosmetic.

    The possible remains of feathers on its forelimbs are also intriguing, since those had only been seen before in feathered theropods like the Velociraptor.    These 'quills' could be evidence that feathers had begun to appear in earlier, more primitive forms than coelurosaurs, which are the theropod dinosaurs more closely related to birds than to carnosaurs.  But the researchers say it is a new species of carcharodontosaurid, predatory theropods that included Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    The Washington Post has an artistic rendering of Concavenator corcovatus :

    Concavenator corcovatus

    If you're looking at Concavenator corcovatus expecting a cute bird, don't be fooled - it likely weighed 9,000 lbs and stood 6 feet high, with 20 feet of length.  This bird would bite your head off.

    Predpredatory theropods were previously only found south of the Equator (Late Cretaceous Gondwanan land masses) so it adds a new wrinkle in the evolution of dinosaurs.

    Citation: Francisco Ortega, Fernando Escaso, José L. Sanz, 'A bizarre, humped Carcharodontosauria (Theropoda) from the Lower Cretaceous of Spain', Nature 467, 203-206 (9 September 2010) doi:10.1038/nature09181

    Comments

    I agree with those who say the hump is cosmetic. If it were a thermal regulator it would look more like the sail on the back of the Dimetrodon and other similar species. It would have to be taller and longer in order to accomodate the functions of warming in the morning and cooling during the day. It's a very intere3sting creature though. I just ran across this today on the web and have never heard of it before. It merits further investigation.

    Hank
    You're not out of touch.  While these discoveries are 'made' before the studies are released, they are heard about.  In this case, they wanted to make sure it was a new species and then there is the usual dance with peer-review journals so the embargo for stories was last night.
    Maybe it's not a permanent species. This dinosaur might be a temporary species which shows us the evolutional transition from sea to sky through land. I'm not a scientist but it makes sense.

    At the writer of the article:
    I am appalled at some of the mistakes in this text. First and foremost, Tyrannosaurus was NOT a carcharodontosaurid, it was a coelurosaur, which is a totally different lineage of predatory dinosaurs. Concavenator is therefore not closely related to Tyrannosaurus. Second, there are a lot of predatory dinosaurs known from the northern continents in Cretaceous (Tyrannosaurus, Tarbosaurus, to name the most known), and there are even some carcharodontosaurids in this mess (Shaochilong of China), so even if you meant the carcharodontosaurids, you still got it wrong.
    This is a bad piece of science reporting, and I hope the problems shall be rectified

    Hank
     But the researchers say it is a new species of carcharodontosaurid, predatory theropods that included Tyrannosaurus Rex.
    Write the researchers and tell them they are wrong - their contact info is in the Nature article.
    The researchers are not wrong, it is clear that Concavenator is a carcharodontosaurid...but Tyrannosaurus wasn't, and if that is written in Nature, then we do have a grand problem

    Maybe this is proof that flying dinosaurs evolved from land mammals (or maybe the other way around). The Pterosaur (a flying dinosaur) does seem to have a few sections of the spinal cord joint together to support the wings at about the same hight as hump of the Concavenator corcovatus.