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Bambiraptor feinbergorum (Burnham, Derstler, Currie, Bakker, Zhou & Ostrom, 2000)

Name Means: "Baby Raider" Length: 3 ft.(1 m)
Pronounced: Bam-bee-Rap-tor Weight: 7 lb.(3 kg)
When it lived: Late Cretaceous - 80 MYA    
Where found: Montana, USA    

  Bambiraptor is one of the most important fossils found in North America. This little bird-like dinosaur was a very quick hunter, and it may have been an important step in dinosaurs' evolution into birds. Scientists believe that feathers and fuzz covered its body. The fuzz would have been like the downy covering on baby birds.
  Bambiraptor had quite a few features in common with modern birds. It had a wishbone, something all modern birds have that allow them to flap their wings, and its arms and hands were very long for its body size. In fact, the length of its arms and hands approached the lengths needed for flight. It also had an ossified sternum, a bone that is essential for birds to be able to move their wings for flying. Even with these similarities, however, there is no doubt that Bambiraptor was still a dinosaur from the raptor family. It had the killer claw on its foot like Velociraptor, and it had a mouth full of sharp teeth. It is considered by many to be the North American version of Archaeopteryx. Clearly a short step away from its European relative, this specimen is an exceptionally important piece of the bird/dinosaur puzzle. With more than 90 percent of the animal discovered, along with the remains of what may be a second individual, this specimen will continue to provide insight into the evolution of birds.
   The Bambiraptor skeleton was discovered in 1995 by 14 year old fossil hunter Wes Linster, who was looking for dinosaur bones with his parents near Glacier National Park in Montana. Linster told Time Magazine that he uncovered the skeleton on a tall hill and was amazed at his discovery. "I bolted down the hill to get my mom because I knew I shouldn't be messing with it," he said. The bones that Linster discovered on that hilltop led to the excavation of a skeleton that was approximately 95 percent complete. Because of its completeness Florida Paleontology Institute Director Martin Shugar compared it to the 'Rosetta Stone,' the stone tablet that enabled archaeologists to translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Yale paleontologist John Ostrom, who reintroduced the theory of dinosaur-bird evolution with his 1964 discovery of Deinonychus in Wyoming, agreed, calling the specimen a "jewel," and telling reporters that the completeness and undistorted qualities of the bones should help scientists further understand the dinosaur-bird link.
   There is disagreement as to the origin of the name.  One authority wrote that it was named after the familiar Disney movie character and the surname of the wealthy family who bought and donated the specimen to the new Graves Museum of Natural History in Florida.  Another points out that Bambiraptor was a juvenile coelurosaur, and "Bambi" is short for the Italian word "Bambino," which means baby. 
   The specimen was displayed at the Graves Museum in Dania, Florida.  On March 31, 2004, the board of
trustees agreed to sell the site and dissolve the corporation named for museum founder Gypsy Graves.  They reportedly were looking for a new location for the museum. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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