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Coyote-sized raptor dinosaur fossil found

May 21, 2012 at 10:28 PM   |   Comments

SALT LAKE CITY, May 21 (UPI) -- U.S. paleontologists say they've discovered the fossil of a 130 million-year-old raptor dinosaur no bigger than a modern coyote in a national park in Utah.

The new raptor, called Yurgovuchia doellingi, was discovered in Utah's Arches National Park in an area dubbed Doelling's Bowl Bone Bed, named after paleontologist Helmut Doelling of the Utah Geological Survey, who first discovered the bone-rich site.

The new raptor is a member of the family of dinosaurs known as Dromaeosauridae, who all sported a large curved claw on the second toe that may have served as a weapon for killing prey, a climbing aid, or digging tool.

The sharp-toothed, clawed carnivores roamed the Earth during the Cretaceous period, preying on smaller creatures.

The name of the raptor is derived from the Ute word yurgovuch, or coyote, and doellingi to honor Helmut Doelling, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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