Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dinosaur Quasimodo found in Spain

The taxon (biological category) of this recently-discovered dinosaur is Concavenator corcovatus, which means "the Cuenca predator with a hunchback". I prefer to refer to him by a nickname: Quasimodo. In the genus (first) term, the "venator" element means a hunter in Latin, while the "Conca" prefix is one of the various designations of the place where Quasimodo was discovered, known today as Cuenca, located midway between Madrid and Valencia. The species (second) term is a Latinized version of the Spanish word "corcovado" meaning hunchbacked.

Quasimodo lived at the beginning of the Cretaceous period, some 130 million years ago (10 million years after the end of the Jurassic period). Apart from his hump, whose raison-d'être remains a mystery, Quasimodo had bumps on his arms that probably housed some kind of feathers or bristles. So, he could well be another ancestor of birds.

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