Name Dahalokely
Order Saurischia
Suborder Theropoda
Class Abelisauridae
Name Translation Lonely Small Bandit
Period Late Cretaceous 90 Million Years Ago
Location Madagascar, Africa
Diet Carnivore
Size 9-14 ft (2.7-4.3 meters)

Dahalokely tokana (dah-HAL-oh-KEH-lee) was a medium-sized theropod dinosaur that lived in Madagascar during the Late Cretaceous Period.


Finally in early 2013, after nearly a decade of no new dinosaur species discoveries, paleontologists excavating in Madagascar had discovered the vertebrae and some ribs of a new type of theropod dinosaur in Madagascar's badlands.

Dahalokely-tokana 2540920b

Dahalokely Bones with Estimated Size Compared to Human

This is the third known abelisaurid dinosaur to have come from Africa's large offshore island, the first being the larger, more evolved Majungasaurus, and the second being Rajasaurus. Since it's the only known predator from its time period, it was dubbed Dahalokely tokana, which means "lonely small bandit". Dahalokely isn't only significant in discovery because it's the first discovered dinosaur from Madagascar since nearly a decade, but it also because until now we had no evidence of what dinosaurs were like between 165-70 million years ago, since it came from around 90 million years ago.

Dahalokely tokana by teratophoneus-d62lwqe


Although incomplete, we have a good idea of what Dahalokely may have looked like based on its abelisauruid relatives like Majungasaurus, Carnotaurus, Abelisaurus, and Aucasaurus.

Dahalokely abelisaurid edition by stygimolochspinifer-d62b2ih

Its head was likely very short and robust, suggesting a strong bite force. Its tail was long and well-muscled, designed to help balance out its head and keep it from falling over. Its legs were also likely well-muscled, allowing it to chase down prey at higher speeds than most large theropods.

Dahalokely cervical vertebra

Dahalokely Vertebrae

On the end of each leg was a three-toed foot with sharp talons on each toes that could help rip flesh off of carcasses. Its legs likely made up for its arms, however, because if it were like other abelisaurs, its arms would've been downright puny, even smaller than the famous small arms of an even more infamous predator, Tyrannosaurus rex. Based on the vertebrae from the fragmentary specimen, we can determine that Dahalokely would've been anywhere from 9 to 14 feet (2.7-4.3 meters) long, and was likely the biggest and unrivaled apex predator in its area at the time. Since it lived in the same area, most scientists speculate that the more famous Majungasaurus is a descendent of this elusive theropod, and Dahalokely may have resembled it quite a bit.