"Bambi" the Velociraptor

"Bambi is one of the most exquisite dinosaur specimens ever found"

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Bambi's partially prepared skeleton

Scientific Name: Velociraptor sp.

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Dinosauria

Formation: upper Two Medicine Formation, Montana

"In a bonebed consisting of mostly duckbill remains, this little dinosaur was found washed up against a Maiasaur skull. Bambi is nearly complete, partially articulated, and very well preserved.

Bambi has tentatively been identified as a velociraptor due to similarities with the older Velociraptor mongoliensis from Asia. Bambi also resembles the younger Saurornitholestes langstoni from North America. Being a juvenile makes identification even more challenging. This fossil has the potential to shed light on dinosaur-bird evolutionary questions."


"Paleontologists from the University of Kansas, Yale University, and the University of New Orleans recently announced the discovery of a 75 million year old, bird like dinosaur that when living would have stood no more than three feet off the ground. Because of its size and gentle appearance they christened it Bambiraptor feinbergi, after the familiar Disney movie character and the surname of the wealthy family who bought and donated the specimen to the new Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural History, Dania Beach, Florida.

Bambiraptor is set apart from other members of the dinosauria by its wings, wishbone, and possible feathers. There is no indication of whether it could fly, but the authors are calling it the most anatomically bird like dinosaur ever discovered. They also say that the find adds more evidence to the popular claim that small predatory dinosaurs evolved into birds.

The Bambiraptor skeleton was discovered in 1995 by 14 year old fossil hunter Wes Linster, who was looking for dinosaur bones with his parents near Glacier National Park in Montana. Linster told Time Magazine that he uncovered the skeleton on a tall hill and was amazed at his discovery. "I bolted down the hill to get my mom because I knew I shouldn't be messing with it," he said. The bones that Linster discovered on that hilltop led to the excavation of a skeleton that was approximately 95 percent complete. Because of its completeness Florida Paleontology Institute Director Martin Shugar compared it to the 'Rosetta Stone,' the stone tablet that enabled archaeologists to translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Yale paleontologist John Ostrom, who reintroduced the theory of dinosaur-bird evolution with his 1964 discovery of Deinonychus in Wyoming, agreed, calling the specimen a "jewel," and telling reporters that the completeness and undistorted qualities of the bones should help scientists further understand the dinosaur-bird link.

The specimen was officially unveiled to the paleontological world on March 15 in Florida, and will be permanently displayed at the new Graves Museum in Florida. The museum plans a large dinosaur hall, and joining Bambiraptor will be a nearly complete Gorgosaur specimen and several dinosaur casts. The museum is also hosting a dinosaur-bird symposium in early April.

Despite the several noticeable avian characteristics of Bambiraptor, some paleontologists are discrediting the fact that this specimen holds a key in understanding dinosaur-bird evolution. They point out that flight in birds most likely evolved in the Late Triassic or Early Jurassic, which is evident by Archaeopteryx, the first true bird which was discovered in 150 million year old Jurassic sediments. Bambiraptor dates from the Late Creteaceous, and appeared only in the last ten million years in the existance of the dinosaurs. By this time flight was already advanced in birds, and several paleontologists even believe that all modern bird orders had been developed.

Regardless, Bambiraptor is still being heralded as a major discovery for the pro-dinosaur-bird evolutionists. The announcement is especially important after another bird-like dinosaur, Archaeoraptor, turned out to actually be a composite of two different fossils. This discovery should help pro-evolutionists to get 'back on track,' both in the scientific world and in the media, who were quick to report that the dinosaur bird link was 'dead' following the Archaeoraptor hoax.

The Bambiraptor specimen will be displayed at the Graves indefinitely."

~ in memory of John Ostrom, professor emeritus of geology and geophysics and curator emeritus of paleontology at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. We miss you! ~