Mintage of only 20,000 Coins!
This 1/2 oz .9999-fine Silver $4 coin was designed by Canadian artist Kerri Burnett. The design features a Dromaeosaurus Raptor fossil with a stance that clearly reflects its predatory nature. A selective finish has been applied to the reverse of the coin to give its design an aged, fossil-like appearance. In fact, this technique ensures no two coins are exactly alike. The design was developed in close collaboration with palaeontologists at Alberta’s Royal Tyrell Museum and is an original and compelling keepsake of one of humanity’s great fascinations. The obverse features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, ceated by artist Susanna Blunt.
Dromaeosaurus was a vicious, medium-sized hunter that had a mouth full of serrated, razor-sharp teeth and a sharp, hooked claw on each foot that it used to clamp down on its victims. It was about the size of a large dog or wolf, about six to nine feet (two to three meters) long. Its jaws were long and solidly built for its size, and its neck was curved and flexible. It may have been able to smell its prey, and it probably possessed a good sense of hearing. Its tail was sheathed in a lattice of bony rods but was flexible at the base, allowing it to be carried in a sharply upturned, aerial-like position. Its remarkably large eyes gave it excellent vision. Its vicious sickle-like claws, although shorter than those of other dromaeosaurs, still gave it a distinct advantage over most of its prey.
The first Dromaeosaurus remains were found by renowned fossil hunter Barnum Brown on the south bank of the Red Deer River in Alberta, Canada in 1914, the first such raptor-type dinosaur ever discovered! It was the first dromaeosaur to be discovered and its name was later used for the family, Dromaeosauridae. The species was named by W.D. Matthews and Brown in 1922.
When first discovered, Dromaeosaurus was hard to classify. It had such large foot bones that it was thought to be a much larger dinosaur. It had a large brain for its size, large eyes and grasping hands. Because of this, scientists thought that it was more than twice its actual size. It wasn't until almost 50 years after the discovery of the type specimen that it was formally classified into its own family. All the other raptor dinosaurs, such as Deinonychus and Velociraptor, are members of the dromaeosaur family. Several later discoveries disclosed Dromaeosaurus teeth among the bones of much larger dinosaurs. This led to speculation that dromaeosaurs hunted in packs and made coordinated attacks against larger animals, but the teeth may simply have washed into the sites. What is now known is that most, if not all, Dromaeosauridae, including velociraptor, were feathered, and may even be more properly classified as birds! The debate continues whether any members of this family could actually fly, but if they could, they might have been the original dragons!