STL Science Center

STL Science Center

14 January 2015

Feeling Femurs

Tarascosaurus femur
The femur of the holotype of Tarascosaurus is only about 22 centimeters (8.7 inches) long. That is approximately the size of the average hand from thumb to little finger when both are extended! Fortunately for the dinosaur that bone is only a partial specimen and does not, alone, reflect the height of Tarascosaurus. The estimated total length is not much more impressive, however, and tops out, supposedly, at 35 centimeters (14 inches). This length, though, amounts to a dinosaur that has been estimated at approximately 2.5 meters to 3 meters (8.2 to 9.8 feet) tall at the top of the pelvis. While not as tall as some other contemporary dinosaurs (e.g. Tyrannosaurus, Carnotaurus), Tarascosaurus was most likely the largest predator in its ecosystem, especially in the archipelagos of the Tethys Ocean that covered the majority of Europe during this time. As such, the dinosaur deserved its association with its namesake, an Ibero-Gallic dragon-like monster of lore known as both Tarasque and Tarasca.

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