EE - o - rap - tor
feet (1 m)
feet (0.3 m)
pounds (9 kilos)
Eoraptor is one of the earliest dinosaurs
ever discovered. That means that this small
dinosaur was one of the first to ever walk on
Earth, and its success as a hunter helped
determine what other dinosaurs would look like.
Although it was small, it was a fierce predator.
Its speed and intelligence are some of the
reasons that dinosaurs replaced other animals as
the dominant land creatures.
Discovered in 1993 in the Ischigualasto Basin
in northwestern Argentina, the small skull was
found in a single rock. Unlike most dinosaur
discoveries, and to the delight of the team that
found this important creature (Paul Sereno,
Fernando Novas, and their team), an almost
complete skeleton was found. This single
creature has greatly increased scientists'
knowledge of how dinosaurs developed and
evolved. There are so few dinosaurs known from
this time period that finding a complete
skeleton of such an early member of the dinosaur
family is a big help in expanding our knowledge
of the early dinosaurs.
Eoraptor had the characteristics of later
dinosaurs - serrated teeth, grasping hands
(although there is some speculation that it
occasionally walked using all four limbs), light
hollow bones and a strong, light skull. Although
it lived at the same time as the larger
Herrerasaurus (which may have eaten
Eoraptor), it has some significant differences.
Some of its teeth were shaped differently and
the bones in its hands were more primitive.
Later dinosaurs tended to lose fingers, and by
the time T. rex came onto the scene, it had only
two fingers. Eoraptor had five. Even
Herrerasaurus which had five fingers,
had a less useful fifth finger.