Musing on velociraptors

Yet more dinosaur behavioral ponderings! These are fun to come up with, because there’s absolutely no way of proving or disproving them. 🙂

I was thinking about how velociraptors might have actually been in real life. Because of Jurassic Park, we have this idea that raptors and other dromeosaurs were these lethal killing and eating machines that prefer to eat humans better than anything else. Intelligent pack hunters that are always portrayed as disemboweling larger unfortunate dinosaurs.

But really, the actual velociraptor was only three or four feet tall. The Jurassic Park ones were based on the Utahraptor, which was actually six feet tall, but they still called it a velociraptor.

They’ve also found that most dromeosaurs had feathers, ranging from a downy coating like a kiwi, all the way up to feathers more like an ostrich. People debate endlessly whether they could fly or not.

So, I think we need to shift our perceptions. Instead of thinking of raptors as heartless, mechanical eating machines, let’s think of them as birds. Something akin to a roadrunner. And don’t say “they hunt in packs”. Say rather “they live in flocks”. Birds are pretty lethal predators, after all. Ever watch an egret hunt frogs? Yet we don’t draw them disemboweling other animals (except for the occasional hawk picture with gore added, looking at you, Audubon).

And I want to postulate that they ate bugs.

Bugs! Most birds have insects in their diet. Heck, most small predators eat bugs at one point or another. Ever see a cat catch and munch a grasshopper? And back in ancient times, they had two-foot-long cockroaches and dragonflies with four-foot wingspans. Something had to eat them, and why not these nasty little bird-creatures with sharp teeth and claws?

Naturally they wouldn’t have eaten only bugs, any more than any modern animals are entirely insectivores. Roadrunners also eat snakes, small lizards, mice, and whatever else they can fit down their beak. I imagine velociraptors and other smaller dinosaurs were the same way.

2 thoughts on “Musing on velociraptors

  1. I just love when you write about dinosaurs because I think you have hit it on the head when you describe them. Since reading Kon Tiki and all of the things he describes just going down the Amazon and the huge lizards and snakes and who knows what else and then the stuff he see in the ocean, well, I just think people are nuts to say they aren’t alive.
    I enjoyed this very much.


  2. All a species has to do is be nocturnal, and the human race will never know about it. Look at those weird things they keep finding out in the jungles that only come out at night. I’ll bet you there’s all kinds of little bitty dinosaurs out there that we don’t know about, just because their environment is so hostile to human life.


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