Velociraptors Weren’t Very Scary After All

The villain in movie Jurassic Park wasn’t an actor, but rather a dinosaur: the velociraptor, as pictured on the right.  The movie cast the villain as menacing: Pack hunters, these beasts were six feet tall and probably 150 pounds.  They can run at 60 miles per hour and were “astonishing jumpers” which “show extraordinary intelligence, even problem-solving.”

In reality: Not even close.

Paleontologists peg velociraptors at about 18 inches tall — about five feet long from tip to tail.  They weighed in at a mere 33 or so pounds.  They weren’t pack hunters — rather, all the fossil evidence suggests they travel led alone when hunting prey or otherwise.  Intelligent?  Hardly — an article from 2000 published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology suggests that they were probably no smarter than lions and tigers.

Oh, and they had feathers.  A curator at the American Museum of Natural History went one step further, telling Science Daily that “[i]f animals like velociraptor were alive today our first impression would be that they were just very unusual looking birds.”  Dinosaur turkeys, if you will… not like that guy on the top of this page.

 

Bonus factJurassic Park is two hours and seven minutes long, which is a lot of time for (fake, of course) dinosaurs to be on screen.  But there is actually only fifteen minutes of dinosaur footage in the film — about nine of animatronics and another six of CGI.

Related: The cutest velociraptor you will ever see.