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Updated on May 24, 2017

Utahraptor was a large dromaeosaurid dinosaur that lived 130 to 125 million years ago in what is now the North American southwest. The type specimen of Utahraptor originally found in 1975 by Jim Jenson in the Dalton Wells Quarry in east-central Utah, near the town of Moab, but they weren't recognized as a new species and did not receive any press. In 1991 a large foot-claw was discovered by Carl Limoni. In 1991 James Kirkland, Robert Gaston, and Donald Burge went to Gaston Quarry in Grand County, Utah, around the Yellow Cat and Poison Strip areas of the Cedar Mountain Formation. They dug up remains of an animal sizable to a grizzly bear. They named it Utahraptor ostrommaysorum in honor of Paleontologist, John Ostrum of the from Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History in 1993. The giant stood 6 ft.-8 ft. tall and measuring 23 ft. long, with some individuals possibly reaching lengths of 36 ft and weighing 1,000-1,500 pounds .

Ecology & lifestyle

Utahraptor was in it's time to other dromaeosaurids what a grizzly bear is to a wolf. It was probably the most deadly predator of it's time because it combined strength, and speed with a high level of intelligence at least by dinosaur standards. What made it even more deadly was that Utahraptor probably roamed in packs, especially when they had to bring down large prey items like adult Iguanodon or the sauropods Titanosaurs and armored Gastonia an early Ankylosaurid. Utahraptor though heavily built for a dromaeosaur was still is estimated run at speeds up to 25 mph(40 kph). That's fast enough to just about run anything down in it's habitat. Utahraptor most likely would try to attack juvenile Titanosaurs that can't defend themselves properly by separating them from adults. Packs of Utahraptors may have followed herds of these and other herbivores all over western North America. Utahraptor would use it's huge hooked toe claws to stab deep wounds and hold on to prey while it slashes and bites it's victim.

Utahraptor as appeared in WWD
Utahraptor as appeared in WWD
Utahraptor as appeared in Dinosaur Revolution
Utahraptor as appeared in Dinosaur Revolution

Utahraptor in pop culture feathered or not?

Utahraptor appeared in BBC's critically acclaimed Walking With Dinosaurs series in 1999. In WWD they were portrayed without feathers and with pronated hands, features that are now considered inaccurate. It is likely that utahraptors were feathered. A utahraptor was also depicted in discovery History's Jurassic Fight Club where it was in battle with an armored Gastonia during a drought. Most recently 2011's Dinosaur Revolution premiered on Discovery showing the most recent scientific theories Utahraptor. In 1995 a novel called Raptor Red was written by paleontologist by Robert T. Bakker. It was told from a young female utahraptor's perspective. Raptor Red was written to introduce utahraptor to and the new ideas of dinosaur behavior to a mainstream audience. It received mostly positive reviews from critics.


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      Matilda 3 years ago

      Good to see real expertise on display. Your coobtiturinn is most welcome.