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a meat-eating ceratosaurian theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Morocco.
Pronunciation: DEL-tuh-DROH-me-us
Meaning: Delta Runner
Author/s: Sereno, Duthiel, Lyon et al. (1996)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Kasr-es-Souk, Morocco
Chart Position: 343

Deltadromeus agilis

Before Sereno and chums officially named Deltadromeus, rumours began to fly about the "longest ever theropod" found in the Kem Kem region of Morocco's Sahara Desert by Gabrielle Lyon in 1995. It turned out to be just over eight meters in length, so these rumours were a little wide of the mark. But when Deltadromeus inherited some remains that Ernst Stromer had erroneously assigned to Bahariasaurus and paleontologists performed a like-for-like upscale based on a new, 75% larger thighbone it was catapulted into the big league.

However, these new bones show marked differences to the Deltadromeus holotype, and they don't belong to the same area's powerhouse theropods Carcharodontosaurus or Spinosaurus either. On top of that, some paleontologists suspect that Deltadromeus may be synonymous with Bahariasaurus, which leaves an excess of bones that none of the area's predatory dinosaurs can lay claim to, suggesting there is another huge carnivorous dinosaur lurking in the deserts of Northern Africa.

Supersized or not, Deltadromeus was slight of build with a gracile frame and extremely long and slender legs that gave it an edge speed-wise. It would have been a fearsome hunter in its ecosystem, more than capable of chasing down the most elusive of prey, but it's also been a tad elusive itself, and given taxonomists a royal run-a-round. Deltadromeus was initially thought to be a coelurosaur, and then a gigantic noasaurid. But the latest round of research interpreted it as a primitive ceratosaur, possibly forming a not-yet-formally-named clade along with Elaphrosaurus, Limusaurus and Spinostropheus: the "Elaphrosaurs".

Deltadromeus is represented by tail vertebrae, hind limbs and arms (minus the hands) but precious little in the way of anything to join them together, so length estimates are a bit sketchy. A skull has so far evaded discovery too, so it's one of life's great mysteries how internet fossil shops, perhaps privy to info that experts are not, have a never ending supply of Deltadromeus teeth available at rock bottom prices.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Cenomanian
Age range: 99-94 mya
Est. max. length: 9 meters
Est. max. hip height: 2.4 meters
Est. max. weight: 1.5 tons
Diet: Carnivore
• Sereno PC, Dutheil DB, Iarochene M, Larsson HCE, Lyon GH, Magwene PM, Sidor CA, Varricchio DJ and Wilson JA (1996) "Predatory Dinosaurs from the Sahara and Late Cretaceous Faunal Differentiation". Science, Vol. 272, Issue 5264, pp. 986-991.
• Donald F. Glut (2009) "Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia, Supplement 6".
• Seebacher F (2001) "A new method to calculate allometric length-mass relationships of dinosaurs". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Vol. 21, Issue 1, pp. 51-60.
• Carrano MT and Sampson SD (2008) "The Phylogeny of Ceratosauria". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 6(2): 183–236.
• Holtz TR jr, Molnar R and Currie PF (2004) "Basal Tetanurae" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmolska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "DELTADROMEUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 22nd Feb 2018.