Named By: Peter J. Makovicky, Sebastian Apesteguía & Frederico L. Agnolín - 2005.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Theropoda, Dromaeosauridae, Unenlagiinae.
Species: B. gonzalezorum (type).
Size: About 1.5 meters long.
Known locations: Argentina, Patagonia - Candeleros Formation.
Time period: Cenomanian to Turonian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Based upon a skull and partial skeleton. At least two further individuals exist.
was small, even for a dromaeosaurid
is markedly different to most other currently known dromaeosaurid
genera, especially by its skull. The jaws of Buitreraptor
and slender, both advantages that could theoretically help in seizing
prey like small lizards and mammals that might be hiding amongst
rocks. The teeth, while small, recurve around so that the tips
angle towards the back of the mouth, meaning that they would act like
hooks to prevent prey wriggling off and moving forward out of the
jaws. The serrations of the teeth also would have allowed for easy
cutting into the flesh of soft bodied prey like the aforementioned
lizards and mammals. Interestingly the sickle claw, usually so well
developed in dromaeosaurids, is actually quite short and thick. It
may be that while the sickle claw was likely a killing weapon in other
genera, Buitreraptor simply used it to pin the
bodies of small prey
to the ground while it pulled off pieces with its mouth.
Like with its relatives, Buitreraptor is expected to have had a covering of feathers over its body, either completely or in certain parts like the arms and tail. Although no feathers have been found to conclusively prove that Buitreraptor had them, this lack of evidence has been factored down to lack of preservation, especially as remains have so far never been found to be one hundred percent complete anyway. The expectation for feathers in Buitreraptor arises from the observation from the discoveries of very well preserved dromaeosaurid individuals which have either been preserved with the feathers or the attachment points for them.
Although a predator itself, the small size of Buitreraptor meant that individuals of the genus were themselves likely prey for larger and more powerful predators. Two possible examples of these predators include Mapusaurus and Giganotosaurus, large carcharodontosaurids that were roaming around South America at roughly the same time as Buitreraptor.
- The earliest dromaeosaurid theropod from South America, Peter J. Makovicky, Sebastian Apesteguía & Frederico L. Agnolín - 2005.
- The unusual dentiton of Buitreraptor gonzalezorum (Theropoda: Dromaeosauridae), from Patagonia, Argentina: new insights on the unenlagine teeth, F. A. Gianechini, S. Apesteguía & P. J. Makovicky - 2009.