Neuquenraptor was one of the first dromaeosaurid dinosaurs found in the southern hemisphere. It was discovered in Patagonia, Argentina early in 2005. Its name corresponds to its find location, Neuquén, Argentina and raptor meaning "thief". Neuquenraptor measures 2.5 meters in length and weighs about 30 kilograms. It lived during the Late Cretaceous.
Named for Neuquén, Argentina, the place of its discovery, Neuquenraptor argentinus was described in early 2005 by a joint American / Argentine research team headed by American Post-Doctoral paleontologist Diego Pol. The known remains consist of only a foot and other bone fragments.
The supercontinent Pangaea started to break up in the Early Jurassic, leading to the separation around 160 Ma of Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south. Gondwana itself was soon fragmented into West Gondwana (i.e., Africa + South America) and East Gondwana (i.e., (Antarctica+ Australia) + (India+Madagascar)). West Gondwana broke apart during the Cretaceous, as Africa and South America separated between 132 and 90 Ma. Between approximately 80 and 60 Ma, i.e. in the Late Cretaceous and early Paleocene, North America and South America were connected, at least episodically, by a land bridge, due to the eastward motion of the Caribbean plate between the two continental masses.
Until the discovery of Neuquenraptor, all dromaeosaurids had been found in North America, Europe or Northern China / Mongolia, and scientists believed that the dromaeosaurs only inhabited Laurasia, i.e. the Northern Hemisphere.
Standing only about 1.2 meters (four feet) tall and less than 1.8 meters (six feet) in length, Neuquenraptor was much smaller than North American dromaeosaurids such as Utahraptor. Physically speaking, it may have resembled its larger cousins, though the strange, advanced features of the more closely related Buitreraptor makes its exact appearance difficult to determine. To better understand Neuquenraptor, paleontologists are currently searching for a more complete set of skeletal remains.
Reports from F.A. Gianechini and Colleagues Advance Knowledge in General Science.(unenlagiine dromaeosaurids )
Jul 19, 2011; According to the authors of recent research published in the journal Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, "Over the past two...