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RE: the first raptor
Of course, the correct usage of "raptor" is any diurnal bird of prey
(Falconiformes and Cathartidae). The word "raptor" has become much used and
abused in recent times. Hollywood seems to be largely responsible for the
misappropriation of the word "raptor" for dromaeosaurids & co, together with
certain fictional books (including a story by Bob Bakker which I can't
remember the title of).
I think the earliest falconiforms are from the Eocene; don't know about the
history of cathartids. The earliest member of the Aves that appears to be
specialized for raptorial behavior may be _Boluochia_, one of the Liaoning
birds - the bill and pedal claws appear to be *specialized* for predation.