Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
|A restoration of Utahraptor ostrommaysorum|
Kirkland, Gaston & Burge, 1993
| Utahraptor ostrommaysorum|
Kirkland, Gaston & Burge, 1993
Physical AppearanceUtahraptor was a large dromaeosaur. It was about 2 metres tall, 6 metres long, and weighed about 1,100 pounds. Its skeletal design was like that of a modern turkey or chicken. Its bones were hollow, but strong. It had a rectangular head with a jaw packed with razor-sharp teeth. It had long and relatively thin arms, which ended in three fingers with claws. The first finger was the shortest, and the middle finger was the longest. It had a long tail used for balance. It had short and robust legs. Their feet had four toes. The first toe was not used at all. The second toe was a retractable toe claw that could grow up to 12 inches long. The claw was covered with a layer of keratin to protect the bone. The third and fourth toes were used for balance.
Utahraptor and other dromaeosaurs might have had binocular vision, like that of an eagle. Its hearing was probably very excellent. Scientists recently discovered that raptors in general could hear low frequency sounds the best. It could smell prey from at least a mile away. Dromaeosaurs like Utahraptor were covered in feathers. The arms, legs, and tails were covered in true feathers, whilst the rest of their body was probably covered in protofeathers.
The feathers on the arms of young raptors would’ve enabled a special type of locomotion called wing-assisted incline running, or WAIR for short. Discovered by Ken Dial, a Montana zoologist, this is a behavior used by modern birds that combines flapping the wings back and forth while running up the sides of trees. This flapping pushes the feet of the bird against the tree, allowing it to run vertically up the trunk. This indicates, but does not prove, that small dromaeosaurs lived part-time in the trees.
Utahraptor had many extremely dangerous weapons to use in combat. Its first weapon was its brain. Utahraptor was a "master strategist", and had a fairly expanded brain, aproximately as large as that of a modern ratite such as a ostrich or an emu, birds fabled for their intelligence. Its second weapon it had were the claws on its hands. It used the claws to slash and rip apart its prey, and also to get to the most preferred meat once the prey animal had died. Its third combat weapon was its second toe, which was the deadly toe claw. Utahraptor would use its toe claw to stab its prey, possibly in the jugular vein or spine, causing paralysis and/or death. Its teeth in its jaws were also a crucial weapon, used to tear apart and eat a carcass. Its next weapon was crucial in the hunting process. Utahraptor’s tail was used for balance when it was bringing down a prey animal, and also when the animal was running.
DietUtahraptor’s diet wasn’t very complicated. They would hunt anything that was available to them. Due to the fact it mostly lived in a semi-arid climate, it probably still had to drink large amouts of fresh water. It is possible that Utahraptor scavenged when it couldn’t find anything else to eat. Since it was one of the largest carnivores of the early Cretaceous, it could probably scare most other predators away from a carcass that it wanted to feed on.
Speed and Agility
Utahraptor was agile, and could probably outrun most other dinosaurs during its time. It was more of a heavyweight fighter. It is debated on how quickly dromaeosaurs could run, as they had short but powerful legs, yet would have difficulty hunting without speed and agility. It is likely that even larger dromaeosaurs could use their foot claws to climb, and could ambush prey by leaping onto it. Some think Utahraptor could jump 15FT.
Utahraptor packs probably lived in forests or deserts/prairies where hunting wouldn’t be a problem. They probably had a certain amount of territory, probably up to 3 miles in all directions, and part of their territory could have been near a water source, such as a lake, river, or stream. This suggests, but does not prove, that Utahraptor ate fish as part of regular diet.
In the forest, Utahraptor would probably have hunted rodent-like creatures and lizards. The forest is probably where they would put their nests. Utahraptor packs guarded their nests very well, just like modern turtles and salmon.
The desert/prairie was probably where Utahraptor did most of its hunting when it comes to big game. They would try to separate a young or weak creature from the rest of its herd, then they would kill the separated creature. Often, the prey animal wouldn’t be enough to supply all Utahraptor with food. Therefore, there were probably feeding frenzies, in which some of the members of the pack may have been injured or killed.
In the Media
Utahraptor appears in the Walking with Dinosaurs series shown hunting the herbivore Iguanodon.Utahraptor makes an appearance in the 2008 video game Turok. They are most commonly a reddish color, but there are blue and green raptors aswell. There are also grey colored Utahraptors, called Spitters, that have spines on its back and a yellow sac on its throat, and are capable of spitting acid, as well as Utahraptors that are albino that have pale white skin. Albino raptors are only active at night or in dark places.
A Utahraptor appears in Jurassic Fight Club fighting a Gastonia.
It also apears in the popular PC game Zoo Tycoon 2 where it is inaccuately oversized.
In Primeval Series 1 ep 4, Helen Cutter mentions meeting a Utahraptor in the Jurassic, but in reality the dinosaur is actually from the Cretaceous. A Utahraptor is set to appear in Primeval: New World, where it fights a Pteranodon.
An accurate version of Utahraptor appears in Dinosaur Revolution as a predator of Cedarosaurus.
The novel Raptor Red focuses on a female Utahraptor named Red.
Two panels of each Dinosaur Comics features a Utahraptor. There is a purple "Utahraptor" with yellow quills in Dinosaur King.