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Raptors are simply small to medium size carnivorous dinosaurs that are bipedal. They have three fingered hand. Their brains are relatively big and what makes them distinct is that they have huge solitary claws on each of their hind feet. It is believed it is this claws that they used to slash and disembowel their prey (Bildstein, 2006).
Today in history we are aware of quite a number of raptors but this paper mainly deals with two of them; Velociraptor and Utahraptor.
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The Utahraptor happens to be the biggest raptor that ever lived. Its average measurement was about 23 feet from the head to tail. The minimum weight of an Utahraptor was about half a tone. They are however not comparable to ornithopods and sauropods which are multi-tone and lived in the early Cretaceous period. Utah raptor had a 19th inch middle toe claws. It was a birdlike dinosaur with flexible neck that was curved. It had a bighead with teeth that were serrated and set into powerful jaws. Each finger had also sharp curved claw (Hardey, 2006).
The first person to have discovered the Utahraptor (Dromaeosauridae) was Dr. A. Waldman. The characteristics of the raptor were very distinct. The Utahraptor were very small relative to other raptors. Unlike their counterparts and family members, the Troodontidae the Utahraptor happened to be muscular animals. They had long tails that were very helpful in ensuring the animal balanced as they swung during the time of changing direction. The Utahraptor were agile and had large eyes. They were lightly built and went on living through hunting. Comparable to their body weight they had the biggest brain than other dinosurs...
To correspond to its extreme size, Utahraptor had huge, single claws that were used for ripping and slashing of their prey. It is argued that the Utahraptor may have hunted like the wild cats where they ambush their prey target. They put deep their teeth to the prey as they puncture the gash.
The Utahraptor had four-toed feet; the second toe had a 9-15 inch (23-38 cm) sickle-like claw and the other toes had smaller claws. Its long tail had bony rods running along the spine giving it rigidity; the tail was used for balance and fast turning ability. It had a relatively large brain and large, keen, eyes. Up to 6.5 meters (22 feet) long, 2 meters (over 6 feet) tall and 700 kg (1500lbs) in weight, Utahraptor would have been a formidable predator (Hardey, 2006).
Interestingly, the Utahraptor lived tens of millions of years before their decedents. They were mainly herbivores during the early stages, stages before crustaceous period. The Utahraptor, just like many other raptors used to give birth to smaller offspring’s (Arbogast, 2007).
Velociraptor lived in the woodlands of Asia dating back to about 85 million years ago. These raptors were about 6feet long and weighed between 30-40 pounds. The Velociraptor had sharp teeth with tapered head that was lowly placed. On the front and the hind leg were sharp claws on their bodies was primitive feathers (Bildstein, 2006).
Amongst the raptors, velociraptor was the one which was more birdlike. Just recently fossils were found in China which is being associated with Velociraptor. The fossils found in China had flight feathers placed right on the arms and had downy feathers on their body. The certaintyy of the Velociraptor having feathers is quite sealed. This is despite lack of any fossil evidence to confirm this assumption. Velociraptor had a tail that was stiff and was held straight behind the body. This boosted its balance and enhanced its turning ability (Hardey, 2006).
Just like its larger American relative, Deinonychus, it lived a life of hunting in groups (packs). This was a mechanism to take advantage on is preys. The preys could not easily escape the wrath of many of them. To some point the raptor (velociraptor) was most probably warm blooded as it needed great quantities of energy to run around chasing its prey. This is supported by the fact that animals that are feathery or furry are usually warm blooded. Basing on the Jurassic Park, the features given to the velociraptor are totally incorrect. The villains used in the Jurassic Park were much bigger and more so they looked terrible (Arbogast, 2007).
Velociraptor were all right but also very small. It is unlikely that a giant chicken that resembles the velociraptor would have elicited the awe with which people were moved by the Jurassic Park movie (Bildstein, 2006).
The romantic story of the velociraptor makes it to become the most famous among the raptors. The bones of the velociraptor were discovered in Gobi Desert in the year 1992. This discovery coincided with the adventure of members of Museum OF Natural History in Ney York. It is the President of the Museum, Henry F. Osborn that gave this raptor the Greek name that means “Swift thief” (Hardey, 2006).
Today what has raised controversy over velociraptor is the actual look of the raptor. Various archeological experts have tried to clear this mess but in vain. This is due to lack of fossil envidence (Tellegen, 2010).
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