One of the earliest dinosaurs, Eoraptor lived during the Late Triassic Period (about 228 million years ago). The world that Eoraptor inhabited was ruled by Protosuchus, a massive jawed relative of the modern crocodile. In this dry open-forested land, Dinosaurs survived only to be hunted by Protosuchus. The Age of the Dinosaurs was just dawning during Eoraptor’s time.
Eoraptor was a small slender Dinosaur who ate both plants and animals. She possessed teeth for both a carnivore and an herbivore. A swift sprinter, Eoraptor used her sharp claws to tear her prey apart. (She had five “fingers” on each hand, but only three had long claws.) Since She did not have any of the specialized features of later Dinosaurs, Eoraptor could not hold large prey with her jaws.
Discovered in 1991 by Paul Sereno and Alfretto Monetta in Argentina, Eoraptor remained a puzzle until 2011. Her discoverer, Paul Sereno thought She was a theropod like Tyrannosaurus, at first, since Eoraptor was bipedal and had similar teeth. However, She also had characteristics of Dinosaurs like Apatosaurus. At this point, paleontologists were not sure what She was, and debated the issue back and forth.
Then in 2011, Eodromaeus, who lived at the same time and place as Eoraptor, was discovered. This Dinosaur. Eodromaeus, scientists realized that He was the earliest Theropod, the Family which includes T. rex and other Raptors. When compared to Him, Eoraptor was neither a Theropod nor a Sauropod. Since She had characteristics of both, Eoraptor was place in her own family of Eusaurischia.
Eoraptor teaches that sometimes ambiguity is the only answer. Doubt is not a comfortable place to be, but it is a part of life. In Eoraptor’s case, her ambiguous nature spurred vigorous debate amongst paleontologists. Sometimes ambiguity is a holding place until something definite happens. In ambiguity, exists several possibilities, waiting to be explored. Let Eoraptor be your guide.