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Raptors did not hunt in packs, new study finds

By T.K. Randall
May 7, 2020 · Comment icon 8 comments

Even solitary raptors would have proven deadly. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Frank Vincentz
In direct contrast to their depiction in the Jurassic Park movies, velociraptors were not actually pack hunters.
The popular movie franchise, which kick-started a whole new era of special effects when the original Steven Spielberg adaptation of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park novel opened in cinemas to great fanfare back in the 90s, seems to have been going from strength to strength in recent years.

While the performance of the movies in the Box Office is beyond dispute however, the same can't be said for the factual accuracy of some of the dinosaurs that have been depicted in them.

The carnivorous velociraptors for instance, which have been portrayed as having smooth scales, would have most likely sported a plumage of colorful feathers in real-life.

Now according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, these deadly carnivores were also unlikely to hunt in packs as often depicted in the films.

"Raptorial dinosaurs often are shown as hunting in packs similar to wolves," said palaeontologist Joseph Frederickson. "The evidence for this behavior, however, is not altogether convincing."
"The problem with th[e pack hunting] idea is that living dinosaurs (birds) and their relatives (crocodilians) do not usually hunt in groups and rarely ever hunt prey larger than themselves."

"Further, behavior like pack hunting does not fossilize so we can't directly test whether the animals actually worked together to hunt prey."

Instead, it is now thought that velociraptors may have acted more like today's komodo dragons - attacking the same animal but not actually participating in any sort of group co-operation.

To determine this, scientists analyzed the teeth chemistry of Cretaceous-era raptor fossils.

"If we can look at the diet of young raptors versus old raptors, we can come up with a hypothesis for whether they hunted in groups," said Frederickson.

Whether these findings will influence future entries in the franchise however remains to be seen.

Source: | Comments (8)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 3 years ago
Not that far fetched to see them in frenzied attacking groups to bring down bigger prey like the komodo dragons pulling down a water buffalo...  ~
Comment icon #2 Posted by Wepwawet 3 years ago
This shows the problems caused by Jurassic Park. The raptors were so OTT that ever since there has been a move to bring them down to earth, but, at times I think it goes too far in the other direction. There is still the issue of Tenontosaurus being the prey of Deinonychus, and this is not in doubt. We cannot tell behaviour from the fossils, except when you have a one off like the "Fighting dinosaurs", and even there it is possible that while we have one Velociraptor entangled with one Protoceratops, there may have been other Velociraptors involved, but that is conjecture. The scenario of mult... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year 3 years ago
They make the claim and then say that they don't really know. But then that seems to be typical anymore.
Comment icon #4 Posted by DieChecker 3 years ago
I would agree that we cant really know. But I do find their evidence intriguing. So, they were more like tigers, or leopards, rather then lions.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Wepwawet 3 years ago
Thomas Holtz had said that if the term "raptor" had never been used, then maybe we would be calling them "panther dinosaurs"
Comment icon #6 Posted by jbondo 3 years ago
But, somehow, this will be pushed in public schools (socialist incubators) as fact. Many of today's predators do in fact attack animals larger than themselves on a regular basis. So, how is it that they seem to know that these creatures "rarely ever" took down bigger prey?
Comment icon #7 Posted by DanL 3 years ago
In a predatory place like the Cretaceous or Jurassic taking down things that were much larger than you would be a waste. As soon as they took it down something bigger would come along and take their kill from them. You see this happens in Africa all the time. Often when a cheetah makes a kill before they can feed on it a lion comes along and takes it from them. Leopards have the same problem if they kill something too large to quickly carry up into a tree. IF a pack of raptors took down a bigger dinosaur it would attract a bigger predator to the kill and even a pack of raptors can't deal with ... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by DieChecker 3 years ago
True, but arent those predictors mostly pack a animals, such as lions, wolves, or orcas?

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