Dinosaur of the Week – Utahraptor

Utahraptor_updated

Hell yeah, Dinosaurs!

This is a new Weekly(ish) segment where I school all ya’ll on a specific type of Dinosaur!  I figured for the first segment, I’d go with what is probably my favorite Dinosaur, the Utahraptor.

You remember the really cool Velociraptors from Jurassic Park (and World)?  Well, those were PROBABLY actually closer to what would have been a Utahraptor in real life.  Velociraptors were roughly the size of a turkey, while Utahraptors were the more familiar 8-foot tall set of teeth and claws.

The different sizes of the Raptor family, with a particularly dapper human for scale.
The different sizes of the Raptor family, with a particularly dapper human for scale.

The first fossil evidence of the Utahraptor was found in 1975 in, you guessed it, Utah (near Moab).  They later found enough Utahraptor specimens to give them their official classification (Utahraptor ostrommaysorum).

What makes the Utahraptor particularly special (and thus my favorite Dinosaur) is that was essentially the biggest, toughest Raptor on record.  When you consider this species commonly hunted in packs, it makes them even more interesting.  Most large dinosaurs were theorized to have hunted alone (similarly to your biggest Sharks today), so to have such a skillful predator running around with half a dozen buddies… man, what a cool freaking dinosaur.

The Utahraptor was also the main character of one my favorite dinosaur books growing up, Raptor Red. Raptor Red worked a fictional tale from what the paleontology world was learning about the Raptors of North America in the Early to Mid 90’s. It was a book told from the point of view of the raptor, which completely changed my view of how to write Dino books (and led to about a dozen short stories and comic books I wrote growing up where the lead protagonist was a Dinosaur of some sort).  Written by famed paleontologist Robert T. Bakker (remember the paleontologist who gets eaten in the waterfall by the T. Rex in The Lost World: Jurassic Park?   That was basically Spielberg’s homage to Bakker), Raptor Red remains one of my favorite pieces of Dinosaur fiction to this day.

In short, the Utahraptor was easily one of the dopest Dinosaurs to ever exist, and is one of, like, three cool things to actually come out of the state of Utah (the others being Fry Sauce and Steve Young).

~

Want to recommend a future Dinosaur of the Week?  You can either comment on this article or send me a suggestion over at Twitter (@JoshCantBlah, or @JoshCantBlog after November 1st).

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