The eagle dinosaur
Weight: 135 kg
Found In: Africa
Aetonyx is the name given to one of the famous dinosaurs that walked this earth millions of years ago, and the records found of it give a clear idea of their life on earth.
What does Aetonyx mean?
The meaning of the name Aetonyx is “eagle’s claws” and derives from the Greek αετός (aetós) which is understood as claws and νύχια (nýchia) which is understood as eagle.
History of the Aetonyx discovery
Aetonyx is a genus designated for the dinosaurs of a unique species called the masospondidium prosaurus.
At present, there are not many data that shed light on this ferocious animal, however, the knowledge that we have of it has been provided by the fossil records of the family to which it belongs.
In spite of the many doubts that remain, there is important information about this dinosaur.
The first Aetonyx fossil was found in 1911 by the paleontologist Robert Broom, who immediately classified this fossil as a Carnosaurus.
However, this was not entirely correct, as later discoveries referred to an elongated vertebrate dinosaur similar to Aetonyx called Massospondylus because of its physical form.
This discovery was first made in Africa, specifically in the southern vicinity of Africa. Even though no more records of this dinosaur have been found, we are looking for more information in the records that we have today.
Even though the studies do not yield the expected or desired fruit, this remains by design one of the most popular dinosaurs today.
When the skeleton of the Aetonyx was found, one could see that it was not quite complete, since in it there were some vertebrae as well as part of the tibia, the arms, hands and most of its foot.
Thanks to this discovery it was possible to reconstruct the rest of its skeleton with the aim of having a wider scheme of this animal.
In spite of the fact that there is little information detailing all the desired aspects of this Jurassic animal, at present important data on this dinosaur is still being discovered, which allows us to have a better understanding of this animal that is quite interesting and striking.
Because skeletal structures can now be created and developed from fossilized remains, many images have been recreated that suggest the exact physical form of the Aetonyx.
However, most of these images found in many guidebooks are not faithful to the original fossils.
When did it live?
The incredible Aetonyx saw life in the Jurassic period, approximately 195 million years ago, in what is known as the Heattangian, a period that is detailed in the timeline division.
What is now known as the Heattangian refers specifically to the Jurassic period of time that comprises the first floor of this age.
This period runs from 199 to 196 million years ago, and the precise environment in which it lived was all over Africa.
What did Aetonyx eat?
Like the other dinosaurs in his infraorder (Prosauropoda) he does not know for sure what kind of diet they had, although there is a consensus that most of them are herbivores some characteristics may suggest a carnivorous and even innovative diet.
We will have to wait if in the future more complete fossils of these dinosaurs are found to establish with certainty what type of dinosaurs they were.
Characteristics of Aetonyx
Taking into account how difficult it has been to recreate the skeleton of this animal, it is incredible that thanks to the advances we can have a quite complete and detailed map of it.
The fossils show that the Aetonyx had a moderately elongated neck, and had quite thin legs that allowed it to move without much difficulty.
Previously it was believed that Aetonyx was omnivorous, but recent discoveries suggest that it was carnivorous, as it had large claws and sharp teeth which allowed it to hunt and tear its prey.
Its length was between 4 and 6 meters, its height between 2 and 2.5 meters and its approximate weight was 135 kilograms.