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The most terrifying creature on Earth; Utahraptor, a giant, carnivorous super-sized raptor. Agile, athletic, and with lethal, razor-sharp claws, these seven-meter, pack-hunting killers are well armed and long fingers help them to latch on to and kill swift-moving, larger prey.
— Allen, describing Utahraptor

Utahraptor (name meaning "Utah Thief") is a genus of large dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that originated during the Early Cretaceous period in what is now North America. Measuring around 7 meters in length, standing about 2 meters in height, and almost 700 kilograms in weight, Utahraptor was the largest member of the Dromaeosauridae family ever found, much larger than its later kin, such as Deinonychus and the more famous Velociraptor. Their size was great enough to enable these monstrous raptors the potential to attack even small Sauropods. Much like the later raptor species, Utahraptor was armed with sickle-like claws on its hind legs and it had self-replenishing teeth in its jaws. Thus, these pack-hunting killers were well-armed.

In the Series 2 episode "Clash of the Titans" a pack of seven Utahraptors were brought back to the park from Early Cretaceous North America of 127 million years ago. They reside in the Raptor Peak exhibit.

FactsEdit

Era & DiscoveryEdit

Utahraptor was not only the largest but also the oldest known dromaeosaur. Thus, it was the first raptor ever to evolve. It lived in North America during the Early and throughout the Middle Cretaceous period from 130–100 million years ago and was one of the apex predators of its time and region. It shared its environment with other creatures like Deinonychus, Iguanodon, Polacanthus, Pteranodon, and Ornithocheirus.

Hence its name, the first specimens of Utahraptor were found in 1975 by Jim Jensen in the Dalton Wells Quarry in east-central Utah, near the town of Moab, but did not receive much attention at the time. About 15 years later, after a find of a large foot-claw by Carl Limoni in October 1991, James Kirkland, Robert Gaston, and Donald Burge uncovered further remains of Utahraptor in 1991 in the Gaston Quarry in Grand County, Utah, within the Yellow Cat and Poison Strip members of the Cedar Mountain Formation. Therefore, Utahraptor is known from a well-preserved skeleton found in 1991 in Utah, USA and fragmentary remains from South America.

Physical AttributesEdit

A species of dromaeosaur notable by their enormous size, Utahraptor stood 6–8 feet (2–2.4 m) tall, measured 16.5–24 feet (5–7 m) in length, and weighed in at over 500–680 kg (1,100–1,500 lbs.), comparable in size to a large bear. This makes Utahraptor arguably the largest and strongest dromaeosaur that ever existed. Utahraptor had large eyes with excellent vision that allowed them to see in the dark and long grasping hands with large, sharp ripping claws. Its toe joints were specially enlarged so that its massive claw could be raised upward and backward to avoid damage while running. The unique wrist-joints of Utahraptor allowed the hands to pivot sideways, an action similar to the folding of a bird's wing.

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But when used in an attack, its huge slashing claw flexed forward as the animal kicked out. Swinging in a wide arc, its huge 20 cm slashing claw would produce terrible wounds enabling a Utahraptor to cripple and kill animals much larger than itself. With lethal claws, these killers were well-armed, and long fingers allowed them to latch onto swift-moving, larger prey. However, although they were very fast, agile, and flexible theropod dinosaurs, able to reach speeds of up to 20–28 mph (32–45 km/h) and leap an amazing 15 feet (4.7 m) into the air, Utahraptor had the short legs of a sprinter and did not pursue their prey for long.

Despite their large size, Utahraptor could crouch down to the ground, which gave them the ability to use even the slightest cover if needed. Without being seen, they could peer over cover while remaining hidden.

Behavior & TraitsEdit

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Utahraptor pack eating a dead Iguanodon

Undoubtedly the most terrifying creature that ever walked the earth, Utahraptor was an extremely aggressive and highly intelligent theropod dinosaur. Like many predatory dinosaurs and all species of raptors, even Utahraptor was a social dinosaur that lived and hunted in packs; in numbers of up to at least three individuals, and rarely more than that. Lead by Alpha, Utahraptor lived in packs of 3–12 or more full-grown adults and assorted young. They lived in jungles, open grasslands, and alpine environments, as the thick forests and rocks provide cover for them and nests for their young. Utahraptor nests were dug out amid the roots of giant jungle trees. All chicks were the responsibility of the entire pack, who brought back food for the young. While out hunting, a single guard or even two would remain behind, watching over the nest.

Utahraptor was a deadly and vicious predator, able to quickly and brutally kill their prey. Their hunting territories were large and well-marked, with a mixture of tree scrapings, urine, feces, and the like. Surprisingly, Utahraptor would sometimes conceal themselves for an ambush by burying themselves in rubble in the area.

When hunting, Utahraptor preferred to stalk and follow their prey unseen under the cover of vegetation and/or darkness, before emerging from their cover and swiftly closing in for the kill. They would ambush their prey, getting as close as possible before bursting out of cover and chasing down its prey. They were very efficient at using the terrain of their region to their advantage and would chase prey into canyons or over low cliffs.

They also had a hard time going without a kill for more than a week. Whenever they made a kill, they ate as much as 100 kilograms in each sitting. Whenever they ate, there was a strict pecking order in their feasts, and the large adults come first, whereas the younger and weaker Utahraptors would be nearby and have to wait their turn. Because of their large size, Utahraptor hunted anything from animals as small as Hypsilophodon to even small sauropods.

Journal EntryEdit

Perhaps the most terrifying creature that ever walked the face of the Earth, Utahraptor ("Utah Theif") is the largest and strongest member of the dromaeosaurs, measuring around 23 ft. in length, growing to stand close to 8 ft. tall, and weighing as heavy as a polar bear. The size of Utahraptor coupled with their intelligence makes them a significantly dangerous predator.

Utahraptors are the most adaptable predators in the dinosaur world. As such, they can live anywhere. However, Utahraptor is bulky enough that it cannot follow most prey in smaller compact areas. Stealing food from smaller predators is just as viable for them as hunting their own food, but they’re big enough to tackle larger prey than most raptors.

Like all raptors, Utahraptor was equipped with the same, 12-inch, sickle-shaped, retractable killing claw on their second toes. The strong leg mussels also allow them to pounce on prey from a distance, attacking with deadly claws on both feet and hands. Most raptors have a large curved claw on each foot, but Utahraptor takes it to the next level.

Wicked sickles up to nine inches long mean Utahraptor was able to disembowel prey easily or pounce and latch onto larger animals. Due to their large size, Utahraptor was said to have hunted not only small Ornithopods or Iguanodonts as prey, but also small sauropod dinosaurs. Like their smaller kin, these raptors, despite their large size, have a tendency for hunting in packs. If you are ever unfortunate enough to see one, you can bet there are more.

— Allen, in his journal, about Utahraptor

GalleryEdit

TriviaEdit

  • Utahraptor is the first and largest dromaeosaur to be brought to the park.
  • Utahraptor has often been credited as the most terrifying creature that ever walked the Earth.
  • The sound effects of Utahraptor are that of cougar, crocodile, hyena, and leopard sound effects. They also produce an unknown screaming sound effects
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