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New 'Thunder Thighs' Dinosaur Discovered in Utah

Thunder Thighs Brontomerus.jpeg

This life restoration shows the adult Brontomerus as a mother, protecting her baby from a predator by using her powerful thigh muscles to deliver a devastating kick. (Francisco Gasco)

A new dinosaur species, nicknamed "thunder thighs" because of the enormously powerful thigh muscles it had, has been discovered in Utah.

The discovery of fossil remains in a quarry near the Colorado River in Grand County, Utah, has been examined by scientists from the U.K. and the U.S.

The scientists said Tuesday that the creature's legs were unusually large.

Researchers believe the species, Brontomerus mcintoshi, used its powerful leg muscles to kick predators or to help it travel over rough, hilly terrain. 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." 

"Brontomerus mcintoshi is a charismatic dinosaur and an exciting discovery for us," said Dr. Mike Taylor, a researcher from University College London.

He added: "When we recognized the weird shape of the hip, we wondered what its significance might be, but we concluded that kicking was the most likely. The kick would probably have been used when two males fought over a female, but given that the mechanics were all in place it would be bizarre if it wasn't also used in predator defense."

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