Fossil range: Early Cretaceous
Santanaraptor (meaning "Santana Formation thief") is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived in South America during the Albian or Aptian stage of the Early Cretaceous, about 108 million years ago. Known from a partial juvenile specimen recovered with mineralized soft tissue, which was unearthed in 1996 from the Santana Formation of northeastern Brazil. While primarily known from hindquarter elements, the individual represented by the fossil may have reached 1.25 metres (4.1 ft) in length. Santanaraptor was originally thought to be the first possible tyrannosauroid from Gondwana, but is now classified as a basal coelurosaur.
The holotype (MN 4802-V) consists of 3 caudal vertebrae with chevrons, ischia, femora, tibia, fibula, pes, and soft tissue. The fossilized tissue includes a thin epidermis, muscle fibers, and possibly blood vessels.
Santanaraptor was originally thought to be a maniraptoran theropod when it was first discovered. However, it is now thought to be a basal coelurosaur based on several features present on the femur. Santanaraptor may have been closely related to Ornitholestes, an earlier coelurosaur of the Late Jurassic, based on similarities in the ischium, a bone of the pelvis.