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A carnivorous Utahraptor. With lethal claws, this seven-meter killer is well armed and long fingers help them to latch on to swift moving larger prey. Agile and athletic, they are pack hunters who stalk and kill their prey with razor-sharp claws.
— Allen, describing Utahraptor

Utahraptor (yoo-tar-rap-tore; meaning "Utah Thief") is a genus of large dromeosaurid theropod dinosaur that originated during the Early to Middle Cretaceous period in what is now North America. Utahraptor is known from a well-preserved skeleton found in 1991 in Utah, USA and fragmentary remains from South America.

Measuring 5–8 meters in length, over 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, at best, 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.

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 during the Early and through out the Middle Cretaceous period from 130–100 million years ago and was one of the apex predators of its environment. It shared its environment with other creatures like Deinonychus, Iguanodon, Polacanthus, Pteranodon, and Ornithocheirus.

Hence it's 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 large dromaeosaurid species notable by their large size, Utahraptor was arguably the largest and strongest dromaeosaur that ever existed. They stood 6–8 feet (2–2.4 m) tall, measured 16.5–24 feet (5–7.4 m) in length, and weighed in at over 680 kg (1,500 lbs.), as heavy as a bear.

Utahraptor had large eyes 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 birds wing.

But when used in 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, Utahraptors had the short legs of a sprinter and though they could move at speeds as fast as 20–28 mph, they did not pursue their prey for long.

Behavior & TraitsEdit

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Utahraptor pack eating a dead Iguanodon

Like many predatory dinosaurs and all species of raptors, even Utahraptor hunted in packs; in numbers of up to three individuals at least. Utahraptors were deadly and vicious predators, able to quickly and brutally kill their prey. They 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 also had a hard time going without a kill for more than over a week. Whenever they made a kill, they ate as much as 100 kilograms in each sitting and whenever they ate, there was a strict pecking order in their feasts, and the large adults come first, whereas they younger and weaker of the three Utahraptors would be nearby and they would have to wait their turn.

Journal EntryEdit

A giant, super-sized raptor measuring around 24 ft. in length, growing to stand close to 8 ft. tall, and weighing as heavy as a polar bear, Utahraptor ("Utah Thief") was the largest and strongest raptor that ever existed. Despite its size, Utahraptor was still an agile predator, capable of running down almost anything.

Like all raptors, Utahraptor were equipped with the same, sickle-shaped 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. Like their smaller kins, these large raptors have tendency for hunting in packs.

Due to their large size, Utahraptor was said to have hunted not only the small Ornithopods or the Iguanodonts as prey, but also hunted the small sauropod dinosaurs. Due to that, Utahraptor is the most terrifying creature that ever walked the face of the Earth, more so than Velociraptor.

— Allen, in his journal, about Utahraptor

GalleryEdit