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Deltadromeus
Deltadromeus new
Name Deltadromeus
Order Saurischia
Suborder Theropoda
Class Ceratosauria
Name Translation Delta Runner
Period Late Cretaceous (99-65 mya)
Location Niger, Nigeria
Diet Carnivore
Size 8.5 metres (26 ft) long, 1.5 ton


Deltadromeus was a species of medium sized theropod dinosaur that once lived on Africa where the Sahara Desert is now located. It is contemporary of other large predators, which include Suchomimus, Spinosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, Rugops, Sarcosuchus, and Kaprosuchus.

It had a lightweight and slender build, an unusual feature for a predator of its size. It could probably race across the landscape at higher speeds than other large hunters. It was very closely related to its contemporary/relative species Bahariasaurus and they may in fact be the same genus if Deltadromeus is a subadult form of Bahariasaurus.

Estimated to be capable of growing up to 8.5 meters (26 feet) in length and weighing 1.5 tons, Deltadromeus was quite big and strong and use wit, power and speed to subdue its prey.

Since its body design is that of a runner, it was most likely warm-blooded. It was likely covered in scales or bumps rather than feathers because it was a member of a more basal theropod family, closely related to Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus and it would not need them as an adult since its own size would likely have given it gigantothermy.

Its gracile and relatively fragile frame is not suited for fighting and it probably lashed out at the prey with its vicious claws and teeth, slashing the hide and flesh like an axe until the prey died from exhaustion, blood loss, shock or a combination of the factors above.

Description

The holotype of Deltadromeus agilis (museum catalogue number SGM-Din2) is a partial skeleton of an animal which is estimated to have measured 8 meters (26.24 feet) long. The weight of the living animal was estimated to have been around 1050 kilograms, slightly more than an imperial ton.

Size of the holotype, speculatively restored as a noasaurid, compared to a human. A number of specimens (catalogued under IPHG 1912 VIII) were originally considered by Ernst Stromer to be conspecific with Bahariasaurus, but were referred to Deltadromeus by Paul Sereno in 1996. They were thought to come from a much larger individual, with a femur (upper leg bone) length of 1.22 meters (4 feet), compared to the 0.74 meter (2.46 foot) long femur of the holotype. These referred specimens, if legitimately assigned to Deltadromeus, would have indicated that members of the genus could grow up to 12.2 meters (40 feet) in length, approximately the size of a Tyrannosaurus rex. However, the referral of the coracoid, pubes, and hindlimb material catalogued under IPHG 1912 VIII to Deltadromeus has been questioned because the remains came from different horizons and localities in the Bahariya Formation, and actually exhibit notable differences from the holotype of Deltadromeus.

The Deltadromeus skeleton has been found in the same formation as those of the giant theropods Carcharodontosaurus, Spinosaurus, and Bahariasaurus, which may be synonymous with Deltadromeus. No skull material has been found for either Deltadromeus or Bahariasaurus, and though carnivore teeth labelled as "Deltadromeus" are commonly sold in rock shops, there is no way of knowing if they actually come from this animal.

Classification

Many studies published since the original description of Deltadromeus have considered it to be a ceratosaur, although different studies disagree on what kind of ceratosaur. One 2003 study suggested it was a member of the Noasaurids, Though others have found it to be more primitive, possibly related to the primitive ceratosaurs Elaphrosaurus and Limusaurus. A more comprehensive study of noasaurid relationships published in 2016 found that both of these interpretations were essentially correct, with Deltadromeus, Limusaurus, and Elaphrosaurus all found to be within the Noasauridae. A 2017 paper describing ontogenetic changes in Limusaurus and the affect of juvenile taxa on phylogenetic analyses placed Deltadromeus as a noasaurid in every analysis regardless of which Limusaurus specimen was used, although the analyses did not include Gualicho or Aoniraptor. According to the writers of the paper, resolving the phylogenetic positions of Gualicho, Aoniraptor, Deltadromeus, and megaraptorans is one of the most critical issues presently facing theropod systematics.

Popular Media

  • A Deltadromeus Figure was released by Safari Ltd. in 1997.
  • In Digimon Adventure 2 a Dinosaur or Dragon Digimon called Deltamon Maybe the same name of the actual Dinosaur Deltadromeus.
  • Deltadromeus appeared in a few episodes of the 2007 Anime show Dinosaur King. Including the final episode of the 2nd Season In 2010.

Gallery

Deltadromeus/Gallery

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