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Dakotaraptor: Feathered Fearsome Dino Of The Dakotas

University of Kansas

Dakotaraptor, a newly described fossil found in the Hell Creek formation of Harding County stood about 6 feet tall at the hip and was up to 17 feet long.    

It lived alongside well known dinosaurs like the T. rex and triceratops.   

But the Dakotaraptor could change the popular notion about carnivorous dinosaurs, because it was covered in feathers.


Pete Larson with the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in Hill City is a coauthor on the new paper describing the Dakotaraptor.    Larson says the Dakotaraptor had feathers from head to tail including long wing like feathers on its front limbs.
“It reemphasizes again how closely related birds are to these theropods to the meat eating dinosaurs. In fact one of the things I often tell kids because it’s interesting to think about.  T. Rex is more closely related to a hummingbird than it is to triceratops.  Which is kind of hard to wrap your mind around but it’s true,” says Larson.  

Larson says previously it was thought that biodiversity began to taper off before  the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period.  

“But now we’re finding that diversity was very high during at that point. We’re we’re getting, every year one or two dinosaurs are being described from these sediments. This is really, really an exciting time to work in dinosaurs,” says Larson.   

Larson says Dakotaraptor fossils have been found for many years but were previously undescribed by science.  He says the publication of research identifying Dakotaraptor may lead to new finds in the Hell Creek Formation and even in museums.  He says some fossils sitting in museum collections previously labeled unknown and can now be identified.   

You can hear an entire interview with Pete Larson by clicking play below.