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Juravenator (Wikimedia Commons)


Juravenator (Greek for "Jura Mountains hunter"); pronounced JOOR-ah-ven-ATE-or


Plains of Europe

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (150 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 2 feet long and a few pounds


Probably fish and insects

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; lack of preserved feathers


About Juravenator:

Some dinosaurs are easier to recreate from their "type specimens" than others. The only known fossil of Juravenator is of an extremely small individual, presumably a juvenile, only about two feet long. The problem is, comparable juvenile theropods of the late Jurassic period show evidence of feathers, impressions of which are completely lacking in Juravenator's remains. Paleontologists aren't quite sure what to make of this conundrum: it's possible that this individual did have sparse feathers, which didn't survive the fossilization process, or that it belonged to another category of theropod characterized by scaly, reptilian skin.

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