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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Saurornitholestes

Saurornitholestes, meaning “lizard-bird thief,” is a genus of dromaeosaurids dinosaur from the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period (75 million years ago) of what is now Alberta, Canada. It was discovered in the badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. Most of the partial skeletons and fossil fragments of this dinosaur are housed at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, in Drumheller, Alberta.

Saurornitholestes appears to have been the most common small theropod in Dinosaur Provincial Park, and teeth and bones are much more common than those of its more massive contemporary, Dromaeosaurus. Little is known about what Saurornitholestes ate and how it lived, but a tooth has been found embedded in the wing bone of a large pterosaur, suggesting it was a carnivore. But, because the pterosaur was so much larger than Saurornitholestes, it is also suggested that this dinosaur was a scavenger, rather than a hunter.

Like other theropods in the Dromaeosauridae family, Saurornitholestes had a long, curving, blade-like claw on the second toe. This dinosaur was more long-legged and lightly built than others in its family, such as Velociraptor Dromaeosaurus. It resembles Velociraptor in having large, fang-like teeth in the front of the jaws.

Saurornitholestes was about 5 feet long and weighed around 30 pounds. It stood about 2 feet tall at the hip.

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Saurornitholestes