The Buitreraptor was one of the first theropods to be discovered in South America. It belonged to the Dromaeosauridae family, or the so-called raptors, a group of carnivorous dinosaurs that includes the Velociraptor. It inhabited the Candeleros Formation in Argentina during the Upper Cretaceous period, around 93-99 million years ago.

Key Facts

Buitreraptor pronunciationBwee-tree-rap-tor
What does Buitreraptor mean?Vulture Seizer
Dinosaur typeTheropod
On the menuCarnivore
Length3.9 ft (1.2 m)
Height1.6ft (0.5 m)
Weight11 lb (5kg)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedUnknown
When they livedUpper Cretaceous, 98-97 million years ago
Where they have been found?Argentina

When & Where

The first Buitreraptor remains were discovered in Patagonia, Argentina in 2004 during an excavation led by Sebastian Apesteguia, Federico Agnolin, and Peter Mackovicky. It was named Buitreraptor gonzalezorum after the location where it was discovered (La Buitrera) and the two Gonzalez brothers who played a key part in its excavation. It is a member of the Dromaeosauridae family and it was the first of its kind to be discovered in South America.

Size & Weight

The Buitreraptor was a pretty small dinosaur species. It was roughly 4 ft in length and it would have weighed around 11lbs. Like all members of the Dromaeosauridae family,  it was likely covered in feathers.

Mobility & Diet

The Buitreraptor was a bipedal dinosaur that had a very long, thin tail, which is not much different from what we are used to seeing in modern birds today. Its snout was extremely elongated, with small teeth that were initially thought not to be for biting but for skimming through the water in order to catch fish.

As with most other dromaeosaurs, it would have eaten small animals such as lizards, birds, and reptiles.

Interesting Points

  • Buitreraptor gonzalezorum is the only known species of Buitreraptor.
  • Like its close relatives, the Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus, it was likely feathered.

Featured Image Credit: Conty, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons