When was Deinonychus Named?

By | October 7th, 2014|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

Providing Information on Deinonychus

Yesterday we were emailed by one young dinosaur fan who asked when was the fearsome dinosaur called Deinonychus named?  Our team members are always happy to help out and we emailed over the information, some Dromaeosauridae themed drawing materials and a fact sheet to assist this budding palaeontologist.

Barnum Brown, the great American fossil hunter discovered the bones of a fast, agile predatory dinosaur in Wyoming back in 1931.  He named this animal Daptosaurus (D. agilis), the name means “active lizard”.  This was an informal name for the dinosaur, the fossilised bones were never officially described.  It was not until the 1960’s when another great American scientist and explorer, John Ostrom, found more bones of this lithe but powerful dinosaur that the story of Deinonychus really begins.  Deinonychus (D. antirrhopus), the name means “terrible claw” due to that sharp, sickle-shaped second toe claw, was formally named in 1969.

An Image of Deinonychus

Fast-running, active, warm-blooded dinosaurs

Fast-running, active, warm-blooded dinosaurs

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ostrom speculated that Deinonychus was a very active animal, capable of the sort of movements more akin to a mammal or a bird than to a reptile.  He argued that dinosaurs such as Deinonychus were probably endothermic (warm-blooded). He depicted them as very active creatures, challenging the widely held view at the time of the Dinosauria being slow, cumbersome creatures.  John Ostrom was ahead of his time in this respect.