Temporal range: Late Cretaceous 70.6Ma
|Skeletal diagram, described fossils shaded|
Allain & Taquet, 2000
Pyroraptor is a genus of dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the late Cretaceous Period of France. It is known from a single specimen. It was found in 1992 in the south of France, in Provence, and is known only from a few bones. It was named Pyroraptor olympius by Allain and Taquet in 2000. The name means "Olympic fire thief", because its remains were discovered after a forest fire. The type specimen consists of the distinctive foot claws, as well as fossilized teeth, arm and vertebrae. It lived during the late Campanian and early Maastrichtian faunal stages of the Late Cretaceous, approximately 70.6 million years ago.
Pyroraptor was a dromaeosaurid, a small, bird-like predatory theropod that possessed enlarged curved claws on the second toe of each foot. In Pyroraptor, these claws were 6.5 centimeters (2.5 in) long. As in other dromaeosaurids, these claws might have been used as weapons or as climbing aids. As a dromaeosaurid, Pyroraptor likely had well-developed forelimbs with curved claws, and probably balanced the body with a long, thin tail. Scientists speculate that Pyroraptor was covered in feathers, as many of its relatives, like Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus, were feathered.
- Allain, R., and Taquet, P. (2000). "A new genus of Dromaeosauridae (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of France." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 20: 404-407. [June 27, 2000]
- Carpenter, Kenneth (1998). "Evidence of predatory behavior by theropod dinosaurs." (PDF). Gaia 15: 135–144.
- Manning, Phil L., Payne, David., Pennicott, John., Barrett, Paul M., Ennos, Roland A. (2005) "Dinosaur killer claws or climbing crampons?" Biology Letters (2006) 2; pg. 110-112 doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0395
- Scott Sampson in Discovery Channel's 2003 documentary series Dinosaur Planet, ep. 2: "Pod's Travels".