When the first holotype remains of this new species were found from the Ojo Alamo Foundation, New Mexico in 2008, scientists were ecstatic about the discovery but the specimens were not enough to study this. This was not until Sullivan, from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, and Jasinski, from the State Museum of Pennsylvania, found new leads in the year 2009 combined with further excavation and skeletal reconstruction in the year 2015 and 2016, that we know of this dinosaur that belongs to the family dromaeosaurid, a group of dynamic and swift predators.
This new species was named Dineobellator notohesperus; derived from Diné, Navajo words for Navajo people, and Bellator, Latin for a warrior.
Dineobellator is pronounced as 'Di-nay-oh-bell-ah-torr'.
Dineobellator belongs to the genus of dromaeosaurid dinosaur, also referred to as 'raptor' dinosaurs, and was found to mostly live in North America. Unlike other dromaeosaurids, which has proximal caudal vertebrae that are acoelous or amphiplatyan, Dineobellator notohesperus has proximal caudal vertebrae that are opisthocoelous, which makes the anterior centrum concave and the posterior centrum convex, which allows its entire tail to be stiff except the base of its tail, giving it one of the most unique features among its family.
The remains of Dineobellator notohesperus were found in New Mexico. Dineobellator notohesperus were also found to have lived in regions of southwestern America during the Late Cretaceous Period, the same time when the much bigger and popular Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed around North America.
The Dineobellator notohesperus was one of the last surviving raptor dinosaurs until our planet was hit by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaur population about 66 million years ago, by the end of the Upper Cretaceous Period.
The remains of Dineobellator notohesperus belonged to the Maastrichtian stage of the Naashoibito Member at the Ojo Alamo Formation in New Mexico.
Dineobellator notohesperus lived in an open floodplain habitat that was moving away from the Western Interior Seaway as the shoreline receded. The Dineobellator belongs to the Ojo Alamo Formation fauna which was dominated by wetlands and riparian gymnosperm forests.
The Dineobellator notohesperus co-existed alongside large dinosaurs like Ceratopsians, Hadrosaurs, two types of Ankylosaur, and the Titanosaur Alamosaurus.
The information related to the exact lifespan of a Dineobellator is scarce. However, it can be estimated based on the information that is related to the lifespan of the raptor dinosaurs which can vary widely among themselves. The smaller ones are generally estimated to have a lifespan of 20 years or less and since the Dineobellator is a smaller dinosaur, they too might have lived anywhere from 15-20 years.
Despite the lack of reproductive information on Patagotitans, scientists have done enough research, with the help of a Deinonychus egg specimen, to conclude that just like the Deinonychus, other dromaeosaurids laid eggs.
The Dineobellator notohesperus is estimated to have been a medium-sized dromaeosaurid dinosaur that was 6-7 ft (1.8-2.1 m) long and 8.2–9.8 ft (2.49–3 m) tall. They were also one of those feathered dinosaurs whose feathers were not really meant for flight.
Estimating the total number of a Dineobellator is still difficult because only 14 bones have been recovered so far. So far, only a partial skeleton was found including its forelimbs and tail bones. It is not known how many teeth they had.
The ways of communication of the Dineobellator notohesperus are not yet known.
The Dineobellator, unlike its other family members, was very small. It was only 6-7 ft (1.8-2.1 m) long and 8.2–9.8 ft (2.49–3 m) tall at the hip.
The exact speed that a Dineobellator could run is unknown.
A Dineobellator weighed just around 55-88 lb (25-40 kg), making it a small but adept predator.
There are no separate names for a male and female Dineobellator.
A Dineobellator baby is called a hatchling.
Inferring from its preferred diet and hunting style, the dinosaur must have been a formidable predator and quite aggressive as well.
According to phylogenetic analysis, it is found that the Dineobellator was a close relative of the Velociraptor.
Studies have also revealed that the Dineobellator was still evolving until the mass extinction that wiped out all dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
These unique features of the Dineobellator might have also allowed it to grasp smaller prey such as birds and lizards with its arms, while larger species like other dinosaurs were caught by its feet.
The first discovery of this new species' holotype took place in the year 2008. However, it was only first reported in the scientific literature in the year 2011.
*We've been unable to source an image of a Dineobellator and have used an image of Edmontonia instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Dineobellator, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]
**We've been unable to source an image of a Dineobellator and have used an image of T-Rex instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Dineobellator, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]