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Press Release 05-183

Bird-like Dinosaur Is Oldest Raptor Discovered in South America

Relative of Velociraptor Could Redraw Evolutionary Charts

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Buitreraptor, along with its primitive reptile prey, is reconstructed in this illustration.

Buitreraptor is reconstructed in this illustration with a plumage similar to that of some closely related Chinese dromaeosaurids with preserved fossil feathers, and primitive birds like Archaeopteryx. Buitreraptor has a long, thin snout that may have been used to catch primitive reptiles, like the baby sphenodontian (a relative of the tuatara) pictured here.

Credit: Illustration by Jorge Gonzalez, The Field Museum


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Reconstructed skeleton of Buitreraptor gonzalezorum

In this reconstructed skeleton of Buitreraptor, the long hindlimbs indicate that the animal was a fast runner. The elongated arms and massive shoulder girdle indicate powerful prey-grasping abilities. Like all other dromaeosaurs, Buitreraptor was armed with an enlarged claw on the second toe of each foot.

Credit: The Field Museum


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The Buitreraptor quarry in Patagonia

In the Buitreraptor quarry, the specimen was extracted in an 800-pound block of sandstone that took 10 days to work free, using a rock-saw and chisels. The picture shows Field Museum scientist Jim Holstein (left) and Argentine paleontologist Pablo Gallina at work.

Credit: The Field Museum


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The skeleton of Buitreraptor in the field

The skeleton of Buitreraptor in the field; a string of vertebrae and the right shoulder (lower left) and femur are showing. A match-stick shows scale.

Credit: The Field Museum


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