Earlier this month, regular Dinosaur Park visitor Teal Quinn found
an unusually large dromaeosaur tooth. Once some associated fragments
were reattached, the tooth measured 2.6 centimeters in length.
(commonly called “raptors”) are meat-eating dinosaurs with large,
hooked claws on each foot. They were swift and agile hunters, using a
long, stiffened tail as a counterbalance when running. Examples of
dromaeosaurs include Velociraptor
, and Deinonychus
Dromaeosaurs were very closely related to birds, and their bones look
very similar to those of a Thanksgiving turkey. In the late 1990s,
dromaeosaur fossils from China revealed that these dinosaurs were
covered in feathers. If a dromaeosaur were alive today, it would have
looked like big roadrunner – except for the mouth full of sharp teeth!
have been found all over the world, and scientists have learned to
recognize their distinctive teeth. These teeth are pointed but also
flat, more like knives than spikes. Tiny serrations on both sides of the
tooth would have helped the predator cut through meat. In Maryland,
dromaeosaur teeth are the most common meat-eating dinosaur fossils
around, but vertebrae, toe bones, and claws from these dinosaurs have
also been found. The teeth from Dinosaur Park come in a wide range of
sizes, which may mean we have both adults and juveniles, or perhaps
multiple dromaeosaur species living together!