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'Camel' dinosaur unearthed in Spain

By Nicole Karns     Sep 13, 2010 in Science
A team of paleontologists working in Cuenca, Spain were thrilled with the discovery of a finely preserved, nearly complete skeleton dating back to 130 million years ago.
The Concavenator corcovatus is 20 feet long and has two raised backbones each 1.3 feet taller than the dinosaur’s other vertebrae.
C. corcovatus's hump possibly supported a mound of fleshy tissue storing fat, as on a camel, according to the study team, led by paleontologist Francisco Ortega of the Universidad Nacional de Educacíon a Distancia in Madrid.
Researchers are dubbing the creature “the hunchback hunter from Cuenca” and are also speculating that the hump may have been just for display in order to attract a mate or to scare off enemies.
The hump is not the only oddity on the dinosaur’s remains. The evidence of quill knobs on the forearms has raised questions as to whether this dinosaur had the ability of flight as those bumps or knobs are typically found on birds supporting large wing feathers. However, taking into consideration the creature’s one-ton weight, flight seems a bit far-fetched at this point.
C. corcovatus was an early member of the carcharodontosaurids ("shark-toothed lizards"), a group of dinosaurs that included the famous T Rex and was earlier believed to be strictly of South American descent. The findings in Spain are now leading researchers to believe this group had beginnings in Europe.
This was the most complete meat-eating dinosaur skeleton ever found however it remains the only one of its kind to date.
The discovery was published by the journal Nature.
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