Means: Heavy Claw
Period: Early Cretaceous, about 125 million years ago
Region: England, Spain, Europe
In 1983, amateur fossil hunter, William Walker discovered parts of a giant claw, a claw bone and a tail bone whilst exploring a clay pit in Ockley, Surrey. Palaeontologists from the British Museum (now known as the Natural History Museum) in London were despatched to investigate and this led to the recovery of approximately 70% of the skeleton of a new type of theropod dinosaur. The huge claw, after which Baryonyx is named, measures over 30 cm along its curve. It is possible that Baryonyx used this claw to hook fish out of water, while hunting on riverbanks. The fossils found in the Surrey clay pit came from a dinosaur that was not fully grown. Baryonyx could have measured up to 9.5 m long, 2.5 m high at the hips and probably weighed over 2 tonnes.