Deltadromeus (pronounced DEL-ta-DROME-ee-us) was a unique coelurosaurian dinosaur closely resembling Ornitholestes, with unusually long, slender limbs suggesting speed and agility. Deltadromeus was one of the fastest dinosaurs to have ever existed. Deltadromeus was about 26 feet long, 8 feet tall at the hip, and weighing up to 4 tons. The adults may have approached the size of Tyrannosaurus.
Deltadromeus was a meat-eating dinosaur believed to be an early offshoot of the theropod line that led to developing tyrannosaurs and raptors in North America. Because of its size and speed, Deltadromeus would have been a formidable predator.
Its teeth were thin with prominent serrations, used for stripping the flesh rather than crushing the bone. If a tooth fell out, another would grow in its place.
Fossil crocodile teeth, turtle shell, crayfish, petrified wood and many dinosaur footprints were found near the sites of the Deltadromeus skeleton. This is evidence the now scorching Sahara Desert was once a vast floodplain laced with rivers edged by coniferous trees.
Crocodiles and turtles swam the rivers and predatory dinosaurs including Deltadromeus, ran through the mud leaving dozens of three-toed tracks that can now be found in the fossilized sedimentary rock in that region.
Remains of Deltadromeus are rare. Gabrielle Lyon found a partial skeleton was in North Africa in 1995. Paleontologists Sereno, Duthiel, Iarochene, Larsson, Lyon, Magwene, Sidor, Varicchio, and Wilson named it in 1996. The type species is Deltadromeus agilis.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.