Dinosauria Online

Say hello to: FALCARIUS UTAHENSIS

FALCARIUS UTAHENSIS

Falcarius utahensis is a newly discovered dinosaur species found in east-central Utah, in the United States, in 2005. Its name is derived from the word sickle (a "falcarius" being in Latin a sickle cutter), which scientists have used to describe its unwieldy clawed hands. This find, along with the recently discovered therizinosauroid Beipiaosaurus from the Early Cretaceous of China, may clarify the group's relationship with the larger family of theropod dinosaurs.

The discovery site, in a 2 acre (8,000 square meter) area of Utah's Cedar Mountain Formation, includes the remains of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of specimens of the new species. Only a small number of the available fossils have been excavated. From examining fossilized bones from several individual animals, scientists describe the dinosaurs as feathered, rotund, sickle-clawed creatures. Falcarius utahensis averaged 3.7 to 4 m (12 to 13 ft) in length and just over 1.2 m (4 ft) tall. With its long neck, it could apparently reach about 1.5 m (5 ft) off the ground to munch leaves or fruit. Its leaf-shaped teeth and 10 to 13 cm (4 to 5 inch) claws indicate that it consumed both meat, quite probably small animals such as lizards, and plant material.