December 18, 2008

Researchers Find New Raptor In Argentina

On Tuesday, researchers reported the discovery of a new species of raptor in Argentina, one of the largest of its kind.

The creature would have weighed nearly 800 pounds and been 15 feet long with very short arms, resembling a Tyrannosaurus.

The raptor was a slender, two-legged hunter.  The creature has gained recent popularity through books and movies like Jurassic Park.

The discovery brings new information into the discussion of the evolution of dromaeosaurids, which were intelligent, birdlike dinosaurs that ran on two legs.

The newly discovered species was named Austroraptor cabazai, by Fernando Novas of the Museo Argentino des Ciencias Naturales and his team of researchers.  The name was chosen to honor the late Alberto Cabaza, who founded the Museo Municipal de Lamarque, and whose researchers contributed to the discovery.

The research team called their discovery a "startling new example" of the species, in large part due to the short arms found on the species.

According to the researchers, dromaeosaurids would have ranged from small crow-sized winged creatures to giants like the newly discovered A. cabazai.


Image Caption: The Buitreraptor-Deinonychus is the closest descendant to the new species (Wikipedia)