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Above: The front of the specimen card.
Small and quick, the Pyroraptor was a fearsome, mini-carnivore in Cretaceous western Europe. The creature was part of the Dromaeosauridae family, a group of small, feathered carnivores, best known for the Velociraptor. The Pyroraptor shared much in common with its appearance with other dromaeosaurids with a small bird-like body covered in feathers, a long thin tail, and large curved claws on its second toe. The Pyroraptor’s claws were 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) long and could have been used as weapons or as climbing aids.
Above: Macro image of tiny eggshells from a rather tiny dinosaur. They're small, but then so was Pyroraptor.
This specimen is a fragment of Pyroraptor eggshell from southern France. The specimen comes inside a classic, glass-topped riker display case measuring 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card is also enclosed. As pictured, the eggshell is also enclosed in a small acrylic specimen jar.
Please Note: This item is extremely limited in quantity. It may be some time before we come across more as finds are limited and the fragments are quite small and delicate.
More about Pyroraptor
The Pyroraptor was first uncovered in the Provence region of France and is believed to have lived during the Late Cretaceous period, 70 million years ago. The first specimen was uncovered at the foot of Mount Olympus after a forest fire, which is where the species gets its name: Pyroraptor olympius.
The upper Cretaceous strata of the Provence region hold a large amount of material containing dinosaur eggs. It is likely that this area was home to many different dinosaur nests during the Cretaceous, with evidence that migration was limited at the time. The area was tropical and contained several sources of drinking water.
Little of the Pyroraptor’s skeleton has been discovered, with only toe claws, individual vertebra, radius and ulna, and two teeth having been found so far. Dromaeosaurid fossils are a rare find, even more so in Europe. Dromaeosaurid teeth, for instance, are often found scattered among unrelated remains, giving little helpful data for understanding European raptors. The discovered Pyroraptor teeth however were found with pieces of the skull attached, making them a highly useful resource in classifying other dromaeosaurids in the area.
The Pyroraptor, like other dromaeosaurids, was likely a speedy hunter, taking down prey with its hook-like claws and devouring them with their serrated teeth. It is unclear as to whether the animal hunted in a group or alone, though there is some evidence to suggest pack hunting behavior.
Allain, R., Taquet, P. "A new genus of Dromaeosauridae (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of France." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol. 20, 2000, pp. 404-407.
Cojan, I., et. al., “Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of dinosaur nesting sites based on a geochemical approach to eggshells and associated palaeosols (Maastrichtian, Provence Basin, France).” Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 191, no. 2, 2003, pp. 111-138.
Torices, A., et. al. “Theropod Dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous of the South Pyrenees Basin of Spain.” Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 2013, doi:10.4202/app.2012.0121.
Above: The back of the specimen card.