Buitreraptor: I Know Dino Podcast Episode 144

Buitreraptor: I Know Dino Podcast Episode 144

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This episode was originally published on August 30, 2017.

In episode 144 we review the 1970 movie When Dinosaurs the Ruled Earth.

Episode 144 is also about Buitreraptor, a dromaeosaurid that lived in the Cretaceous in what is now Argentina.

Dinosaur of the day: Buitreraptor

Dromaeosaurid that lived in the Cretaceous in what is now Argentina
Four skeletons found in 2004 in Patagonia, by a team led Sebastián Apesteguia and including Peter Makovicky, during an excavation
Described and named in 2005 by Macovicky, Apesteguía, and Federico Agnolín
Type species is Buitreraptor gonzalezorum
Name means “vulture raider”
Buitreraptor was found in the fossil site La Buitrera (the “vulture roost”)
Species name is in honor of Fábian and Jorge González, who helped excavate and prepare the fossils
Only two specimens have been described
At the time Buitreraptor lived, South America was an isolated continent
Discovery of Buitreraptor showed scientists that dromaeosaurs lived in more areas of the world than previously thought (it was the first evidence of dromaeosaurs in South America), and that they appeared around 180 million years ago, before Pangaea broke apart (though later studies found they didn’t appear until 160 million years ago, and some scientists think dromaeosaurids started in Laurasia and migrated to Gondwana in the Cretaceous, since dromaeosaurs from the Southern Hemisphere have characteristics that nother dromaeosaurs do not have)
Buitreraptor shows mosaic evolution (has dromaeosaurid, troodontid, and avian traits)
Had a bird-like pelvis, wing-like forelimbs, and a large, hollow wishbone
Similar to Rhonavis (which previously had been considered a primitive bird, but now considered potentially to be a dromaeosaur)
Estimated to be about 5 ft (1.5 m) long, and weigh about 6.6 lb (3 kg)
Had an elongated head
Had small teeth, compared to height of its skull (0.6 to 4.6 mm tall)
Had long, slender jaws (good for preying on small lizards and mammals that hide among rocks)
Teeth were recurved and angled towards the back of the mouth, so they could have been like hooks to keep prey in its mouth
Teeth were also serrated, good for cutting into flesh
Teeth also had grooves on the surface of the crown
Had a lot of teeth (about 25), which is more than other Laurasian dromaeosaurids, that had 11-16 teeth
Had a sickle claw on the second digit of its foot, which was short and broad (probably used for pinning prey)
Had long forelimbs with three fingers on each hand (fingers were proportionately shorter than other dromaeosaurids, and each finger was about the same length, unlike other dromaeosaurids, whose second digits were longer)
Had an elongated body and shallow ribcage
May have had feathers, because Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus, who are relatives, did have feathers (though no feathers have been found)
Possibly prey for larger animals (Mapusaurus and Giganotosaurus, who lived around the same time and place)

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