The creature, dubbed Buitreraptor gonzalezorum, belonged to a group of bipedal, meat-eating dinosaurs called dromaeosaurids, the clan of raptors that includes the darting, humansize velociraptors made famous in the 1993 film Jurassic Park'.
The new find indicates that dromaeosaurids were far more widespread than previously recognized, says Mark A.
Previously unearthed fossils suggested that dromaeosaurids lived in the Southern Hemisphere, but the new find seals the case, says Makovicky.
Dromaeosaurids had the same joint arrangement as did early birds such as Archaeopteryx, Holtz adds.
We interpret the sickle claw of dromaeosaurids as having evolved to do the same thing: latching in, and holding on," he said.
Other features of bird of prey feet gave clues as to the functional anatomy of their ancient relatives, toe proportions of dromaeosaurids seemed more suited for grasping than running, and the metatarsus, the bones between the ankles and the toes, is more adapted for strength than speed.
A long metatarsus lets you take bigger strides to run faster; but in dromaeosaurids, the metatarsus is very short, which is odd," he said.
0044012) "Stomach Contents from two Large Early Cretaceous Compsognathids (Dinosauria: Theropoda) Demonstrate Feeding on Conuciusornithids and Dromaeosaurids
He and his colleagues described several distinguishing features, particularly of its jaw and feet, that enabled them to identify it as a dromaeosaurid - a name that means "running lizard".
They pointed out, however, that it was not Velociraptor's closest relative within the dromaeosaurid family.
At the time, they called it a missing link between birds and dinosaurs because it manifested the long bony tail of dromaeosaurid
dinosaurs and the specialized shoulders and chest of birds.
Novas's discovery the first dromaeosaurid to be found in the Southern Hemisphere?
The fossil didn't look exactly like a dromaeosaurid claw after all.
The scary raptors we know from dinosaur movies are modeled after dromaeosaurids (DRO-mee-uh-SAW-rids), a group of meat eaters from near the end of dinosaur time.
As one of the earliest and most complete dromaeosaurids
, Sinornithosaurus helps fill in critical information, says Wu.