What better a way to re-start the Obscure Dinosaur of the Week series than with this awesome sounding creature: Hagryphus giganteus! And I'm sticking to the weekly updates, not monthly, as I want to stay ahead of the (friendly, I hope) competition.
Name: Hagryphus giganteus
Etymology: From the Egyptian 'Ha' (ancient Egyptian god of the western desert) and Latinised Greek 'gryps' (griffin); and the Latin 'giganteus' (huge)
Distribution: Late Cretaceous (Late Campanian) of North America
Type Specimen: Parts of forearm, hands and foot
Estimated size: 3 metres in length
Illustration © Michael W. Skrepnick, 1999
Interesting Fact: Known range of North American oviraptorosaurs doubles in size!
have previously been found in North America (Alberta, Montana, and South Dakota). But with the discovery of H. giganteus
in Utah, the area over which these theropods were known to exist doubled! It was also 30-40% larger than any of the other North American oviraptorosaurs found to date, which begs the question: what was the true palaeogeographic distribution of oviraptorosaurs in North America, and how much do they vary in size? Taphonomy, of course, has its part to play, as the record of oviraptorosaurs in North America is relatively paltry compared to oviraptorosaur fossils found in China.
The previous known range of oviraptorosaurs, with the addition of the H. giganteus locality to the south, effectively doubling the known range of these dinosaurs. From Zanno et al., 2005.
On a side-note, I wonder when theropod dinosaurs will stop being referred to as 'turkey-like' or 'bird-like' just because they possessed feathers: after all, birds are dinosaurs, people! I understand the need to draw comparisons to living animals, but to my ear it sounds like someone clumsily describing all apes as 'human-like'.
Simplified cladogram of all dinosaurs. H. giganteus was a oviraptorosaur, within theropoda.