Scientists at The Field Museum in Chicago have discovered
a new type of dinosaur, called Buitreraptor (BWEE-tray-RAP-ter). About the size of a turkey, it was probably covered with feathers and lived in Argentina some 90 million years ago.
Buiteraptor is a type of dinosaur known as a dromeosaur., which also includes the famous Velociraptor. Their skeletons are very similar to birds'. In fact, scientists have used them as evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs-quite possibly from dromeosaurs.
However, there has always been an inconsistency. The earliest known bird is about 150 million years old. The earliest dromeosaurs appeared about 125 million years ago. Kind of hard to be an ancestor if you're younger than your descendents.
But the new fossil changes all that. It's from South America. All previous dromeosaurs had been from North America (or Asia). North and South America split apart some 145 million years ago. So, in order for there to be dromeosuars on both continents, the group must have appeared at least that long ago-which puts them right in the ballpark to be, if not the direct ancesors of birds, then at least very close relatives.