May. 21st, 2014

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Nothronychus graffami, along with its Therizinosaur cousins, is an oddity. They are heavy-set, with thick bones and massive claws on their hands, yet they have beaks and plant-chewing teeth. Their odd skeletons resulted in paleontologists initially thinking they were somehow related to sauropods and that perhaps they burrowed, like badgers, but as more skeletons were discovered it became evident that these were theropods after all - but unlike the vast majority of theropods, which tend to be built for speed and power to hunt prey, these theropods were slow-moving browsers, likely using their huge claws to grasp and shear branches and leaves - a lifestyle and set of adaptations that would be later mirrored in mammals by the giant ground sloth. Most of them have been found in China, but Nothronychus is a North American genus, and N. graffami specifically is from late Cretaceous Utah.

Phew, today marks two weeks of dinosaur drawings! I apologize if they get simpler over the next week or so while I pack up and move across the country. I'll try and continue to draw and upload while traveling, but if I miss a couple days, I apologize!

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Lauren Helton

September 2014

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