By Ripley Cook
Etymology: Fire Thief
First Described By: Allain & Taquet, 2000
Classification: Dinosauromorpha, Dinosauriformes, Dracohors, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Eusaurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Orionides, Avetheropoda, Coelurosauria, Tyrannoraptora, Maniraptoromorpha, Maniraptoriformes, Maniraptora, Pennaraptora, Paraves, Eumaniraptora, Dromaeosauridae
Time and Place: Around 72 million years ago, in the Campanian of the Late Cretaceous
Pyroraptor is known from the La Boucharde locality in France, the Vitoria and La Posa Formations in Spain, and potential locations in the UK
Physical Description: Pyroraptor is a poorly known raptor, based on a few fossil scraps found around the late Cretaceous of Europe. Portions of the foot, arms, and some teeth are known from Pyroraptor, none preserved very well. It had the sickle second toe claw of other raptors, and it seems to have been fairly lightweight and small - probably no longer than 1.4 meters, though that is of course an estimate. Other than that, we know very little about its appearance - we don’t even know if it was a specialized sort of raptor like in the Dromaeosaurine, Microraptorine, or other groups - except for that it would have been very fluffy, with wings on its arms and a tail fan on its tail.
By Conty, CC BY 3.0
Diet: As a raptor, it is most likely that Pyroraptor fed upon meat, probably small animals such as lizards, mammals, and turtles.
Behavior: Pyroraptor would have been a very active dinosaur, spending most of its time hopping and stalking around the rivers and beaches in its island environment. Like other raptors, it wouldn’t have been a pursuit predator, but rather an ambush one: it would have waited for prey to appear, and then pounced on it, using rapid flaps of its wings to stay balanced on top of the struggling prey. This technique, called raptor prey restraint, is still seen in living raptors today. Pyroraptor would have also been able to run up vertical surfaces, such as trees and cliffs, using flaps of its wings to gain lyft up the surface. Then, it would have been able to catch food on the run! Other than that, Pyroraptor probably wasn’t very social, based on fossil evidence from other raptors - that being said, it would have taken care of its young, and probably stayed in small family groups during this process.
By The Unknown Horror From the Ocean Depths, CC BY-SA 4.0
Ecosystem: Pyroraptor lived in the Late Cretaceous of Western Europe, which was a series of islands sitting in a shallow ocean - sort of like the Bahamas today. These ecosystems were easy to travel between, utilizing rafting and other forms of impromptu sea travel, so the animals on them tended to be similar to each other. Pyroraptor itself lived with many turtles, snakes, sharks, and gars; as well as Eusuchians such as Musturzabalsuchus and Acynodon. There was some sort of large Azhdarchid pterosaur, too - currently called Azhdarcho, though that’s a questionable assignment. As for other dinosaurs, there were Abelisaurids there, Titanosaurs like Lirainosaurus, Nodosaurids like Struthiosaurus, the Ornithopod Rhabdodon, and another raptor called Richardoestesia, and the protobird Gargantuavis!
By José Carlos Cortés
Other: Pyroraptor was named as such because it was discovered after the occurence of a forest fire. Since so little is known about this dinosaur, there isn’t much more to be said about its phylogenetics or history of discovery! It is rather famous for having been featured in the 2003 documentary Dinosaur Planet, though given its poorly preserved nature, the wisdom in that choice of star is mildly suspect.
~ By Meig Dickson
Sources Under the Cut
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365 notes · View notes