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This page is about the dinosaur species. Raptor is also another name for modern birds of prey. For more, see Bird.

A raptor is the common name for any member of Dromaeosauridae, a dinosaur family of small carnivores during the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods.

Raptors were small to medium-sized dinosaurs, ranging from 2 to 20 feet in length. They walked on their hind legs. The large second toe claw was held retracted, with the third and fourth toes bearing the weight of the animal. The second toe claw was curved and blade-like, serving as a hook or slashing weapon. Larger species of raptors are considered pack hunters relying on speed, agility and cunning rather than strength.[1]

Research has suggested that raptors may in fact have been feathered and are ancestral or related to modern birds. Since year 2000, many fossils has been found with impressions of plumage. In many Dromeosauridae species feathers formed a tail fan and wing-like structures on arms and sometimes legs. Late Cretaceous raptors were discovered to have bone structure adapted for flapping. Microraptor, one of the earliest Dromaeosauridae, was fully-feathered, four-winged glider, possibly capable of powered flight. This led to a theory that later species, including large Utahraptor, were secondary flightless. Modern art often depicts raptors with a crest (erected or lowered to display emotions) or with full-body plumage.

In culture[edit]

Since the success of Jurassic Park, raptors became well-known in popular culture. Raptors have appeared in several other films and television programs, including several of The Land Before Time animated films and Beast Wars, a spin-off of the Transformers. There is a robotic toy based on raptor called Roboraptor. Aside from titles based on Jurassic Park, raptors have been featured in other video games, including the Dino Crisis series, the Turok series, and World of Warcraft.

Raptor characters are most often zoomorphic. Raptors present a huge creative possibility since we don't know which colors they wore, what did the plumage looked like and what Dromeosauridae species are yet to discover. Some raptors have classic scaly looks or are covered in fur. Though mainstream culture depicts raptors as monsters or dangerous antagonists, in furry fandom they are often likable colorful characters. Both mainstream and furry cultures use raptor image in parody and humor.

Raptors also served as the antagonists in Extreme Dinosaurs.

Popular species[edit]

The most popular and very well-known raptor is Velociraptor, due in large part to its prominent role in Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park and the subsequent motion picture series. However, the "raptors" portrayed in Jurassic Park were modeled after Velociraptor's slightly close known larger relative, Deinonychus, which was classified as Velociraptor antirrhopus at the time; they were further enlarged to the size of Utahraptor. The two species of current Velociraptor genus are smaller than humans.

Other notable species include:

  • Utahraptor, the largest of Dromeosauridae. The Bakker's novel Raptor Red is written from a young female utahraptor's perspective.
  • Microraptor, small four-winged raptor prominent in raptor art.
  • Pyroraptor, whose life story features in an episode of Dinosaur Planet.
  • Austroraptor, large raptor with tiny tyrannosaur-like arms.
  • Rahonavis, late raptor species with distinct flapping wings and very bird-like body.

Megaraptor was discovered by a single curved claw and initially was classified as the biggest raptor, but later findings revealed it as an Allosauridae species. Megaraptor is still sometimes depicted as a dromeosaur, for example in Warpath: Jurassic Park fighting game or Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition.

Raptor characters[edit]

  • Talon, a giant raptor from Primal Rage fighting game (he is still much smaller than other giant monsters).
  • Red, titular female utahraptor from Bakker's novel.
  • Dinobot, a transformer from Beast Wars.
  • Utahraptor from Dinosaur Comics.
  • Riptor, a Velociraptor/human hybrid from Killer Instinct fighting game.
  • Unnamed raptor from original Jurassic Park videogame.
  • Unnamed raptor pack from Richard Delgado Age of Reptiles comics.

There is a wereraptor player character possibility in old World of Darkness and Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, a Stone Age race of Velociraptors in Broncosaurus Rex RPG, and two species of raptor mutants in TMNT RPG/After the Bomb.

See also[edit]


  1. As explained in Jurassic Fight Club TV series, episodes 8 and 11
  • Bakker, R.T. 1995. Raptor Red. New York: Bantam Publishing. 272pp.
  • Crichton, M. (1990). Jurassic Park. New York: Ballantine Books: pp. 114-115.
  • Norell, Mark A. and P. J. Makovicky (2004). “Dromaeosauridae”, D. B. Weishampel, P. Dodson and H. Osmolska: The Dinosauria. Berkeley: University of California Press, 196–209.
  • Paul, G.S. 1988. Predatory Dinosaurs of the World. New York: Simon and Schuster. 464 pp.

External links[edit]