STL Science Center

STL Science Center

20 July 2012

Rooster Sized Terror in the South

First and foremost, for all of those that missed me I am back. Those of you who did not, that's okay, but I missed writing this thing every morning! I'm finally settled enough into the new place that my internet is up and running;three cheers for cheaper than ATT wifi connections! Anywho...

Once upon a time in Cretaceous Argentina there was a terror lurking in the shadows of the land, almost literally. While the large theropods and sauropods of the Southern Hemisphere flitted about there was, in their shadows, Buitreraptor. Buitreraptor gonzalezorum was discovered in 2005 and is only the size of a robust rooster. However, Buitreraptor was still a terrible predator due to the fact that, despite being one of a very few southern dromaeosaurs, it possessed large claws on both hands and feet and had a strong, but elongated muzzle filled with small grooved and recurved teeth. The size of this animal, given the relative sizes of other contemporary dinosaurs, makes him fit into the niche of lizard and mammal hunter better than any other category. Scavenging is another possibility, though not as heavily supported. Buitreraptor has many strange anatomical differences that separate it from its Northern, and even Southern, cousins. Its hands are constructed differently in terms of finger length, its "killing claw" is certainly different, and its body, snout included, was very long for how small it was. Tomorrow we will look at how all of those body parts come together to form and impressive, yet strange little dinosaur.

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