The Dahalokely dinosaur was an Abelisauroid and a Theropod that was alive in the Turonian stage of the upper or late Cretaceous period. It became extinct close to 95-90 million years ago. It is a fairly new species of dinosaur that has become known since it was found in 2007. Joseph Sertich and Andrew Farke were the ones responsible for the published research, and for describing, unearthing, and naming the dinosaur. The name of the discovered dinosaur, Dahalokely, came from the Malagasy language, and it means 'lonely little thief'. Fossil remains were discovered on the Madagascar island close to Antsiranana. During the time that Dahalokely dinosaurs lived, the 'Indo-Madagascar' island had separated from the Gondwana. The location where the holotype was found was the Ambolafotsy formation, in the Diego Basin of Madagascar. Dahalokely dinosaurs inhabited terrestrial regions, probably islands. The overall appearance of the Dahalokely can be described as small for an Abelisauroid, very strong legs, a big head, a robust bite force, talons on feet, and tiny arms. The Dahalokely of Madagascar was the top predator in its ecosystem, and one of the fastest dinosaurs to have ever lived.
Dahalokely is pronounced as 'Dah-hah-lo-kee-ley'.
The Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) was a Theropod and an Abelisauroid.
Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Turonian age of the late Cretaceous period.
The Turonian-age Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) went extinct about 95-90 million years ago.
Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) Theropod fossil remains were discovered in the northern part of the Madagascar island, near Antsiranana. During the late Cretaceous Turonian age, India and Madagascar belonged to the landmass that had been separated from Gondwana and this is where they lived.
During the Turonian-age years, Dahalokely dinosaurs inhabited a region that can be described as Indo-Madagascar.
The holotype of the Dahalokely dinosaur was specifically found in the Ambolafotsy formation, in the Diego Basin of northern Madagascar.
The Turonian-age Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) dinosaur lived in terrestrial regions of an island habitat.
Being carnivorous, these Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) dinosaurs likely lived and hunted in groups, but it can't be said for sure.
Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) dinosaurs may have lived on the lower end of the 30-80 year age range.
Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) dinosaurs reproduced by mating and laying eggs.
The holotype of the Dahalokely (Dahalokely tokana) Abelisauroid and Theropod that was found in Madagascar was of a partial skeleton without the skull. The skeleton belonged to a subadult dinosaur and its ribs and vertebrae were the only things that were preserved. Preserved elements included the fifth vertebra of the neck; the ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth, second, and first dorsal vertebrae; the dorsal left rib; two right ribs' upperparts; two ribs on the lower end; as well as some rib fragments.
The size estimate of the Dahalokely dinosaur of Madagascar was initially estimated to be around 11.5 ft (3.5 m). This Dahalokely wildlife size was based on the research that said it was an Abelisaurid. Several unique traits and autapomorphies were assigned to the Dahalokely by describing authors Farke and Sertich. The cervical vertebra of the Dahalokely had a bone sheet and lamina in between the processes of the front joint, the prezygapophysis; as well as a rear process, the epipophysis; and the edge of this lamina was convex. The convex part was longer than the body of vertebrae and the prezygapophysis and epipophysis were separated by conspicuous notches. Considering the second and first dorsal vertebrae, the prezygapophysis and its lamina happened to be arranged on a line that was vertical. The prezygapophysis's joint facet and the front side of the vertebrae are positioned in the exact same plane. Considering the dorsal second vertebra, joint facets in the processes of the rear joint and postzygapophyses were noticeably concave. The hollowed-out part or fossa, underneath the prezygapophysis, and counting downwards from the dorsal sixth vertebra, were separated into two depressions that were smaller.
Similar-looking, closely related Abelisaurids of the Dahalokely include dinosaurs like the Majungasaurus, the Abelisaurus, the Carnotaurus, and the Aucasaurus.
According to published research, the head of the Dahalokely was robust and short, which suggests that it had a strong bite force. The tail of the Dahalokely was strong, well-muscled, and long. The tail helped in balancing out the head and kept it from tilting forward too much. Leg muscles were also very strong, allowing it to run at high speeds and chase down prey. The Dahalokely from Madagascar was probably quicker than most Theropods.
The end of either leg had a foot with three toes and sharp talons. These talons could rip off the flesh from its prey or from carcasses. Huge, strong legs made up for the small arms. If considered to be like other Abelisaurids, its arms would've been very puny, smaller even than one of the most well-known predators, the Tyrannosaurus rex. But in its own habitat of Indo-Madagascar, the Dahalokely was the most unrivaled and ferocious apex predator. Some believe that since the Majungasaurus lived in the same geographical region, it may have descended from the Dahalokely of bygone years. The Majungasaurus also looked like the Dahalokely.
It has not been determined exactly how many bones the Dahalokely had because only partial fossil remains have been found throughout the years since its discovery.
These Dahalokely dinosaurs from Madagascar communicated through visual displays and vocal sounds. They may have uttered grunts and bellows and used displays for mating and territorial rights.
The Dahalokely dinosaur was 9-14 ft (2.7-4.5 m) long. This makes the Dahalokely size four to eight times smaller than the Quaesitosaurus.
The Dahalokely dinosaur is known to have been a very fast-moving Theropod, perhaps the fastest, thanks to its powerful legs. They could run at a speed of 27 mph (43.4 kph) or perhaps even faster.
The Dahalokely dinosaur weighed around 441 lb (200 kg).
Male and female Dahalokely dinosaurs did not have specific names.
A baby Dahalokely dinosaur would be called a nestling or a hatchling.
The Dahalokely was a carnivore that ate creatures like other dinosaurs, insects, lizards, and early mammals.
Dahalokely dinosaurs of Madagascar were apex predators, so they may have been very aggressive with their prey and conspecifics.
After the discovery of 2007, complete remains were excavated by Joseph Sertich, Andrew Farke, and Liva Ratsimbaholison. These fossils were then taken to the USA for preparation, repairing, and scanning, at Stony Brook University. After fossil casts had been prepared and stored with the inventory identification number RAM 16010, in the Raymond M. Alf Museum, original specimens were actually returned to the island of Madagascar and became a part of the University of Antananarivo's collection.
In the year 2013, the Dahalokely dinosaur became a part of the superfamily Abelisauroidae. However, for its small size, the Dahalokely's phylogenetic position remains uncertain. Ribs and vertebrae of the Dahalokely show features of both groups of Abelisauroids, the Abelisauridae and the Noasauridae. The phylogenetic analysis by Farke and Sertich, which was published with the initial description, concluded that the Dahalokely was a basal Noasaurid, but this hypothesis did not receive much support. Incomplete remains and lacking material that overlapped with other known skeletal remains of different Abelisauroid species meant that the position that the Dahalokely holds in the Abelisauroidae superfamily is uncertain.
The Dahalokely name was given to the dinosaur by ones who discovered and described fossil remains and published the proper research, Joseph Sertich and Andrew Farke. The generic name comes from the Malagasy language. The national language of Madagascar island happens to be Malagasy. The 'dahalo' component translates to 'thief', someone who rattles cattle mostly. This was chosen since the Turonian-age dinosaur was a predator. The 'kely' component translates to 'little' since the dinosaur was little considering the fact that it was an Abelisaurid, which is a group of large dinosaurs.
The specific name 'tokana' in the binomial name 'Dahalokely tokana' translates to 'lonely' since Farke and Andrew thought the dinosaur would've gotten lonely, being a top predator out on the Indo-Madagascar island in the Indian Ocean.
Being a top predator, the Dahalokely dinosaur obviously had sharp teeth and a robust bite force to catch its prey with its mouth and kill it.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Vespersaurus surprising facts and Rajasaurus fun facts for kids pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Dahalokely coloring pages.
Main image by Danny Cicchetti.