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Dinosaur
News
New Dinosaur, Variraptor, Found in France
December 17, 1998

UtahraptorA new meat-eating dinosaur, Variraptor mechinorum, has been found in the south of France (near Marseilles). This late Cretaceous period dinosaur was about 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8 m) long and weighed roughly 100 pounds (50 kg), approximately the size of a person. Variraptor was bipedal (walked on two legs), had a long tail, short powerful arms, and sharp teeth and claws. Scientists speculate that Variraptor may have been a scavenger.

FranceVariraptor was discovered in 1998 by two amateur paleontologists, Patrick and Annie Mechin, near Fox-Amphoux, in the Var (hence the name of this raptor). Details of this find were published in the European Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

When Variraptor Lived
Variraptor lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago, toward the end of the Mesozoic Era.

Classification
Variraptor was a Saurischian dinosaur, the order of lizard-hipped dinosaurs. It was a theropod, a coelurosaur, and a dromaeosaurid (the smartest dinosaurs, which included Velociraptor, Deinonychus, Hulsanpes, Dromaeosaurus, Utahraptor, and others).

Fossils
Fossil remains include some dorsal vertebrae, skull fragments, a humerus (arm bone), a femur (thigh bone), a sickle-like toe claw and some teeth.

Fossils Found in France
(Including dinosaurs, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, and ichthyosaurs; * = not a dinosaur.)
Aepisasaurus, Compsognathus, Dacentrurus, Erectopus, Grallator, Hypselosaurus, Lexovisaurus, Liopleurodon*, Megalosaurus, Morinosaurus, Muraenosaurus*, Neosodon, Nqwebasaurus, Opthalmosaurus*, Pelorosaurus, Pistosaurus*, Piveteausaurus, Plateosaurus, Poekilopleuron, Pterodactylus*, Pyroraptor, Rhabdodon, Tarascosaurus, Telmatosaurus, Teinurosaurus, Variraptor.

Related Links
Pages on close relatives, Deinonychus, Utahraptor, and Velociraptor.

All about the raptors, the dromaeosaurids.

The meat-eating dinosaurs, the theropods, and dinosaur diets.

Creatures and climate of the Cretaceous period.

Other fossils found in France and Europe.

Chart of geological time.




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