A raptor isn’t the big-clawed, calm, lizard-skinned dinosaurs we imagined it to be after seeing the movie “Jurassic World.” These smart species of dinosaurs do not just hunt in packs, and/or suddenly became professionals at doorknobs, as seen in the movies. In real life, most raptors had just about the body mass of little children and were not as bright as the average hummingbird.
The True Meaning Of A Raptor
Paleontologists define raptors as theropod dinosaurs that share similar anatomical characteristics. For simplicity purposes, raptors can be described as carnivorous, and average-sized dinosaurs with the ability to grasp using their three-fingered hands, and big, solitary claws, which they used to disembowel their prey. Surprisingly, the Raptors co-existed with other theropods in the Mesozoic Era; by all means, other types of dinosaurs existed.
For the Raptors, possession of feathers was never a criterion for a powered flight: while some members of the raptor family tree, such as “Microraptor,” seem to have effectively glide against the wind in the sky, majority of raptors were restricted to crawling and hopping. In other words, no true theories are confirming that the raptors evolved to modern birds, in fact, “raptor” as a word is generally used to describe “big-taloned” birds. For example, falcons and eagles.
The Unveiling Of The Raptors
The rise of the Raptors came to light about 90-65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, but they never stopped roaming the earth for millions of years before that.
The most distinguished dromaeosaur of the Cretaceous period was “Utahraptor,” a huge predator, weighing 2,000 pounds, and had been around long before its populous descendants; still, paleontologists strongly believe that majority of “proto-raptors” were relatively tiny, and known for hiding beneath the footsteps of larger “sauropod” and “ornithopod” dinosaurs.
These species of dinosaurs varied in size, and sometimes in the structure of their anatomy. Also, the Microraptor never weighed more than a few pounds and had in possession, coupled with four feathered wings which made flight easy. Unlike the fierce, Utahraptor could have pounced on a “Deinonychus” without feeling its claws hitting anything.
A Raptor’s Behavior
As concluded by paleontologists, the smartest raptor of all Era couldn’t wish to outsmart a Siamese cat, much less a homo sapien. However, it is crystal clear that dromaeosaurs must have been smarter than their herbivorous prey since all that is required for active predation demands a large amount of grey matter.
As a matter of fact, recent discoveries of various raptor track marks located in groups hints that at the very least some of these dinosaurs roamed in small packs, so to an extent, cooperate hunting wouldn’t have been entire impossible, at least for some genera.