Learn about a new prehistoric animal every week with us. It will be a blast!
STL Science Center
14 September 2012
Bambi Goes Cretaceous
Not the correct Bambi
Bambiraptor feinbergi was certainly not a deer, nor was it cute and cuddly, despite its small size and birdlike appearance; feathering in Bambiraptor is an educated guess, though accepted by the vast majority of the paleontology community given its perceived habitat and familial relationships in the Dromaeosauridae which is known from many different fossils to be a feathered family more often than not. The original specimen of Bambiraptor is a juvenile discovered by a juvenile, 14 year old Wes Linster, in the early 1990's. Due to its small size and similar appearance to other known skeletons, it was initially believed to be a juvenile of Saurornitholestes, but was, after the original description and the discovery of more partial skeletons, retained in a new genus and species. The holotype skeleton, in fact, is 95% complete, which is extremely rare, while the subsequent discoveries are far less complete; they comprise a few partial adult skulls and skeletons that are noticeably, but not much, larger than the juvenile. That juvenile rocks the scales at a whopping 4.4lbs (2kg), estimated, and approximately 90cm long, with some tail vertebrae missing which would probably make up about 10cm more, making the whole juvenile approximately 1 meter long (about 3.3ft). Thought to be arboreal, the Bambiraptor juvenile had a brain about the size of a small bird like a Blue Jay or Sparrow, making it fairly smart in the terms we generally think of for dinosaurs. It's brain, though, is thought to have been geared toward agility and higher thinking skills, as high as most birds get of course remember, as these parts of the brain cavity, particularly the cerebellum's area in the brain cavity, were larger than the rest of the brain.