In expeditions to the Gobi Desert in the past decade, Lee and his colleagues have unearthed the 70-million-year-old fossils of two more individuals of the species from sites near to where the original 1965 specimen was discovered. Together, those remains — along with some bones stolen by poachers before Lee and his team found the fossils, but since recovered from a private collection — account for about 95% of the creature’s skeleton, he notes.
The newer-found bones differ from those of other ornithomimosaurs in several unexpected ways. Most of the spinal vertebrae have blade-like projections that extended upward and served as anchors for a network of ligaments that probably helped to support the immense weight of the creature’s abdomen. The researchers estimate that Deinocheirus was about 11 metres long and tipped the scales at more than 6.3 tonnes.
“This is definitely an unusual animal,” says Thomas Holtz, Jr., a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Maryland in College Park, who wrote an accompanying News & Views piece2. “It had more of a ‘beer belly’ than your typical ornithomimosaur,” he suggests...."