FOUND: A Giant American Raptor - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: A Giant American Raptor

A sketch of Dakotaraptor steini (Image: Emily Willoughby/KU)

Velociraptor, though the most famous raptor, was not actually that large. It was, as Discover Magazine puts it, “roughly the size of a turkey.”

But millions of years ago, there were giant raptors (or, more properly, dromaeosaurids). And paleontologists working in the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota have found a new one—Dakotaraptor steini, which was about 17 feet long and had a front claw that measured 9.5 inches along the outer curve.

Before Dakotaraptor steini, only two other giant raptors had ever been found in North America. A raptor larger and older than the Dakotaraptor is known: the Utahraptor, which was around 22 feet long, according to Discover Magazine. But since these two American beasts lived millions of years apart, there would have been no giant-raptor-on-giant-raptor fights. 

Bonus finds: Excellent ancient mosaic, a snail even tinier than this tiny snailhoard of coins

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.