Jurassic Park was ‘wrong’ about Velociraptor behavior | Daily News


 

Jurassic Park was ‘wrong’ about Velociraptor behavior

A new University of Wisconsin Oshkosh analysis of raptor teeth published in the peer-reviewed journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology shows that Velociraptors and their kin likely did not hunt in big, coordinated packs like dogs.

The raptors (Deinonychus antirrhopus) with their sickle-shaped talons were made famous in the 1993 blockbuster movie Jurassic Park, which portrayed them as highly intelligent, apex predators that worked in groups to hunt large prey.

“Raptorial dinosaurs often are shown as hunting in packs similar to wolves,” said Joseph Frederickson, a vertebrate paleontologist and director of the Weis Earth Science Museum on the UWO Fox Cities campus. “The evidence for this behavior, however, is not altogether convincing. Since we can’t watch these dinosaurs hunt in person, we must use indirect methods to determine their behavior in life.”BFrederickson led the study in partnership with two colleagues at the University of Oklahoma and Sam Noble Museum, Michael Engel and Richard Cifell.

Though widely accepted, evidence for the pack-hunting dinosaur proposed by the late famed Yale University paleontologist John Ostrom is relatively weak, Frederickson said.“The problem with this idea is that living dinosaurs (birds) and their relatives (crocodilians) do not usually hunt in groups and rarely ever hunt prey larger than themselves,” he explained.“Further, behavior like pack hunting does not fossilize so we can’t directly test whether the animals actually worked together to hunt prey.”

Recently, scientists have proposed a different model for behavior in raptors that is thought to be more like Komodo dragons or crocodiles, in which individuals may attack the same animal but cooperation is limited.

“We proposed in this study that there is a correlation between pack hunting and the diet of animals as they grow,” Frederickson said.

In Komodo dragons, babies are at risk of being eaten by adults, so they take refuge in trees, where they find a wealth of food unavailable to their larger ground-dwelling parents. Animals that hunt in packs do not generally show this dietary diversity. (Scitechdaily)


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