Getting to Eichstaett was really rather good timing given that the new and long description of Juravenator is finally out. This little theropod caused quite a stir when it first appeared in 2006, though of course as a specimen it had been around for a while before then. I did have a bunch of photos of this from previous trips, but nothing digital, and now the slab is out in display this was too good an opportunity to miss.
Juravenator is generally considered to be a compsognathid of some kind and the specimen is wonderfully complete. Partly prepared using UV light this meant that even very small details are preserved and not lost through cleaning the bones. In addition to the scales around the tail (see below) there is the possibility of some feather-like fibers amongst the scales. If there is a ‘problem’ as such with the material it is that this is another juvenile. This seems to be a common theme with compsognathids with the ‘classic’ Compsognathus holoype also obviously being a young animal as well. It would be nice to have a really good adult compsognathid turn up and give us a bit more insight into this group. While several taxa are now known, they don’t get anything like the attention of other even ‘minor’ theropods groups and its about time someone really got to grips with them (or if they have, I’ve clearly missed it).
Chiappe, L.M. and Göhlich, U.B. (2010). “Anatomy of Juravenator starki (Theropoda: Coelurosauria) from the Late Jurassic of Germany.Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie – Abhandlungen, 258(3): 257-296. doi:10.1127/0077-7749/2010/012