Abstract

Since the first discovery of dromaeosaurid remains from the Late Cretaceous of southern France, two genera and species, Variraptor mechinorumLe Loeuff & Buffetaut, 1998, and Pyroraptor olympiusAllain & Taquet, 2000, have been erected. Their validity and possible synonymy have been debated. New remains of Dromaeosauridae from Late Campanian – Early Maastrichtian localities near Cruzy (Hérault) and Fox-Amphoux (Var) are described. A sacrum from Hérault is remarkably comparable to that of Variraptor. An ilium from Fox-Amphoux and the holotype sacrum of Variraptor mechinorum probably belong to the same individual. Shared elements between Variraptor and Pyroraptor do not show any diagnostic characters. The question of the synonymy between Variraptor and Pyroraptor is still unresolved on the basis of these new specimens. Nevertheless, the available evidence suggests that these two species may be valid. The specimens from Cruzy suggest that faunal interchange between Europe and Asia lasted longer than that between Europe and North America, and that European dromaeosaurids evolved on their own during the Late Cretaceous isolation of Europe.

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