A new dinosaur named Brontomerus mcintoshi, or “thunder-thighs” after its enormously powerful thigh muscles, has been discovered in Utah, USA. The new species is described in a paper recently published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica by an international team of scientists from the UK and the US.
A member of the long-necked sauropod group of dinosaurs which includes Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, Brontomerus may have used its powerful thighs as a weapon to kick predators, or to help travel over rough, hilly terrain. Brontomerus lived about 110 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous Period, and probably had to contend with fierce “raptors” such as Deinonychus and Utahraptor.
The shape of the bone indicates that the animal would likely have had the largest leg muscles of any dinosaur in the sauropod family. This is reflected in the name Brontomerus, which literally means “thunder-thighs.” The dinosaur’s species name, mcintoshi, was chosen in honor of John “Jack” McIntosh, a retired physicist at Wesleyan University, Conn., and lifelong avocational paleontologist.
I would never have imagined something so large could support itself and maneuver its body well enough to use kicks to defend itself! It sounds like there’s no direct evidence for this, but it is an exciting possibility.