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Santanaraptor (Wikimedia Commons)


Santanaraptor (Greek for "Santana thief"); pronounced san-TAN-ah-RAP-tore


Woodlands of South America

Historical Period:

Middle Cretaceous (110 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 4 feet long and 25 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; bipedal posture; possibly feathers


About Santanaraptor:

Ever since a partial skeleton was discovered in the Santana formation in Brazil in 1996, Santanaraptor has bounced around the dinosaur classification bins. At first, this reptile was thought to be an early, South American tyrannosaur, but it has since been pegged as an earlier (i.e., slightly less evolved) theropod closely related to Coelurus and/or Ornitholestes. The fossil specimen of Santanaraptor is notable for what seem to be impressions of soft tissues, including skin, muscle and blood vessels; presumably, a scientific analysis of these remains will shed more light on this dinosaur's evolutionary provenance.


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