Images xca
An artist's illustration of Bradycneme draculae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
clade: Dinosauria
Superorder: Theropoda
Family: Alvarezsauridae
Genus: Bradycneme
Harrison & Walker, 1975
Species: B. draculae
Binomial name
Bradycneme draculae
Harrison & Walker, 1975

Bradycneme (meaning "ponderous leg") is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Maastrichtian-age Upper Cretaceous Sânpetru Formation of the Hațeg Basin, Transylvania, Romania. The genus contains a single species, Bradycneme draculae, known only from a partial right lower leg (specimen BMNH A1588), which its original describers believed came from a giant owl.


In 1975, Harrison and Walker described two "bradycnemids" from Romania: B. draculae and Heptasteornis andrewsi. These specimens had initially been assigned to the supposed pelecaniform bird Elopteryx nopcsai. The generic name, Bradycneme, comes from the Ancient Greek bradys (βραδύς), meaning "slow, ponderous" and kneme (κνήμη), meaning "leg", as the holotype, BMNH A1588, a 37.8 millimetres (1.49 in) wide distal tibiotarsus found by Maud Eleanora Seeley, would be very stout if the animal had been an owl, with a body height of about 2 metres (6.6 ft). The specific name, draculae, is derived from Romanian dracul, meaning "the dragon," and refers to Dracula.

Starting with Pierce Brodkorb, the specimens were soon compared to small theropod dinosaurs. Bradycneme, Elopteryx and Heptasteornis have been synonymized, split, and reassessed numerous times since then in part because of the fragmentary nature of the remains; there exist three proximal femora and three distal tibiotarsi, which may belong to one, two, or three species. Usually, at least one of them is considered to be a troodontid.

In the most recent assessments, Bradycneme and Heptasteornis were found to be the same and most likely basal members of the Tetanurae in one study, but Darren Naish did not follow the synonymy and found Heptasteornis to be an alvarezsaurid, while classifying Bradycneme as an indeterminate maniraptoran. In a 2011 classification, Tom Holtz assigned Bradycneme to the Alvarezsauridae along with Heptasteornis.

In The Media[]

  • Bradycneme made an appearance in the final episode of Planet Dinosaur where it's shown catching a lizard and later after the K-Pg event eating a carcass of a sauropod called Magyarosaurus. However, Planet Dinosaur, it is depicted as a slightly larger troodontid and with fuzzy plumage, while in real life, it is an alvarezsaur and had more feathers, including "wings".
  • It also appears in the first two Fossil Fighters games, but is absent from the third. It is the only alvarezsaur to appear in the game. While accurately depicted with a coat of feathers, it is inaccurately depicted pronating its wrists. It's model is slightly based off of vampires, due to its name.