Back in the Early Cretaceous Period, it paid to have thunder thighs. Fossils recovered from Utah's Hotel Mesa Quarry suggest a newly discovered species had very powerful legs.
The new species, detailed in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, is classified as part of the sauropod family, a group of dinosaurs known for their long necks and tails. According to Discovery News, this dinosaur's neck and tail would have stretched out longer than any living python. The team named the dinosaur Brontomerus mcintoshi -- in Greek, "thunder thighs."
The dinosaur, estimated to be about the size of a large modern elephant, possessed an unusually large hip bone, suggesting enormous thighs. Scientists predict that with the dinosaur's legs, he would have been able to deliver a powerful kick. University College's Dr. Mike Taylor suggests that kicking would have been a display of dominance, a way for males to compete for females. It also would have been helpful in fighting off predators, reports the BBC.
Other recently discovered dinosaurs had different ways to fight off predators. These include the Kosmoceratops, whose 15 horns were used to both attract mates and intimidate rivals, and Eodromaeus, whose quick moves as a predator may have an evolutionary connection to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Beyond finding a dino with fat thighs, the discovery challenges commonly held beliefs about sauropods -- it was previously thought that sauropods started to disappear in the Early Cretaceous period.
Unfortunately, scientists will not be able to learn as much about "thunder thighs" as they would like. Hotel Mesa Quary has been looted by commercial fossil-hunters, who, according to Dr. Taylor, "left behind broken remnants and smashed bits of bone; and in some cases they were using broken bones to hold down tarpaulins - that's really the most disgraceful aspect of it." If only "thunder thighs" were alive today, perhaps he would've booted them from the site.