Friday, February 25, 2011

Brontomerus: Thunder-Thighs!

Brontomerus mcintoshi, a new sauropod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA. 2011. M.P. Taylor, et al. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 56: 75-98.

Brontomerus mcintoshi is a newly discovered sauropod from the Early Cretaceous of North America. Brontomerus means "Thunder thighs" -- a name chosen because the peculiar shape of the hip bone shows that it would have had enormously powerful thigh muscles in life.

The quarry where the bones were found contains elements from at least two individuals, one of them three times as big as the other -- an adult and a juvenile. The life restoration shows a mother protecting her baby from a predator by using her powerful thigh muscles to deliver a devastating kick.

Notice how, in the reconstruction above, the hip bone projects a long way forward from the socket where it meets the leg: in life, muscles would have run down to the leg from the whole length of the hip bone, hence the name "Thunder thighs". link
I'm sure that using the term "thunder thighs" will generate a few hundred extras hits for the blog from the non-palaeo crowd. Parents: don't let your kids google that term without adult supervision!