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 :
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
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