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Dromaeosaurus albertensis See more dinosaur images.

Brian Franczak

DROMAEOSAURUS (DROH-may-oh-SORE-us)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Saurischia, Theropoda, Dromaeosauridae

Location: North America (Canada, United States)

Length: 6 feet (1.8 meters)

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In 1914, Barnum Brown of the American Museum of Natural History collected a nine-inch-long skull and some foot bones from the Judith River Formation in Alberta. It was named Dromaeosaurus, which means "running reptile." After that, the genus was often referred to in various publications even though very little was known about it.

In 1969, the skull and foot bones were re-described. In the process, some important similarities between it and the Deinonychus were noticed. Both Dromaeosaurus and Deinonychus were small theropods with large skulls. Their skulls are similar, and both genera had large sicklelike claws on the second toe of the foot. Dromaeosaurus and Deinonychus are now placed in the same family, Dromaeosauridae. Other members of this family include Velociraptor and Hulsanpes.

Not much is known about Dromaeosaurus because the only specimen is incomplete. Teeth that may belong to it have been found in several western states and Alberta, but they only tell us that the animal lived in these areas. This was a rare theropod, or at least it was rarely preserved. Scientists are hoping better specimens will be found.