Dracoraptor

Name: Dracoraptor ‭(‬Dragon hunter/thief‭)‬.
Phonetic: Dray-coe-rap-tor.
Named By: D.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Martill,‭ ‬S.‭ ‬U.‭ ‬Vidovic,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Howells‭ & ‬J.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Nudds‭ ‬-‭ ‬2016.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda.
Species: D.‭ ‬hanigani‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Holotype estimated to have been‭ ‬2.1‭ ‬meters long,‭ ‬however this was a juvenile at the‭ ‬time of death.‭ ‬Adults may have been up‭ ‬3‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Wales‭ ‬-‭ ‬Blue Lias Formation.
Time period: Hettangian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and partial post cranial skeletal remains.

       An interesting little dinosaur,‭ ‬Dracoraptor was a small theropod dinosaur that roamed around what is now Wales during the early Jurassic.‭ ‬The holotype‭ (‬first found‭) ‬individual of Dracoraptor has been reconstructed at just over two meters in length,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬the holotype was a juvenile animal,‭ ‬and adults would have been larger.‭ ‬Dracoraptor was lightly built,‭ ‬with long legs that would have allowed for a high running speed,‭ ‬enabling Dracoraptor to chase down swift moving prey.‭ ‬The small size and build however meant that Dracoraptor would have been limited to hunting smaller animals.
       Fossils of the first individual of Dracoraptor were recovered in‭ ‬2014‭ ‬by Nick and Rob Hanigan,‭ ‬two brothers who are also amateur palaeontologists who were searching a cliff face for fossils of ichthyosaurs.‭ ‬Later in‭ ‬2015,‭ ‬more fossils were found by a student named Sam Davies.‭ ‬The fact that fossils of Dracoraptor have been found in a deposit known for marine creatures would indicate that at least one individual of Dracoraptor had been swept out to sea and then buried in marine sediment.‭ ‬Assuming that an individual/s was not swept out to sea by a river,‭ ‬it may be that Dracoraptor were known to hunt animals and scavenge carrion on the shoreline,‭ ‬effectively being beachcombers.

Further reading
-‭ ‬The oldest Jurassic dinosaur:‭ ‬a basal neotheropod from the Hettangian of Great Britain.‭ ‬-‭ ‬PLoS ONE‭ ‬11‭(‬1‭)‬:e0145713:1-38.‭ ‬-‭ ‬D.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Martill,‭ ‬S.‭ ‬U.‭ ‬Vidovic,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Howells‭ & ‬J.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Nudds‭ ‬-‭ ‬2016.



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