February 23rd

2011 – Brontomerus Described

On this day in dinosaurs, we meet “Thunder Thighs.”

In 1994, two partial skeletons dating back 110 million years were discovered in Utah. Three years later, paleontologists realized the skeletons belonged to a new species of animal. This new long-necked sauropod dinosaur had the largest leg muscles ever known in the family. Whether these muscular limbs were used for walking over difficult terrain or for kicking predators, the scientists dubbed the new dinosaur “Brontomerus,” or “thunder thighs” in 2011.

Brontomerus kicking Utahraptor / Wikimedia Commons
Brontomerus kicking Utahraptor / Wikimedia Commons

With less than half of Brontomerus discovered, and none of the leg bones, it’s difficult to say exactly what so much muscular strength was doing attached to the animal’s scapula and other skeletal elements.

What does seem certain is that sauropods were not simply large, blundering hunks of meat. They were dynamic and stood their ground against fearsome predators. Brontomerus, it seems, did not suffer predatory behavior kindly.

Share your favorite pictures of Brontomerus and other sauropods on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #TDIDinos.