Velociraptor or Deinonychus? Did the Jurassic Park Movie
Get its Dinosaurs Mixed Up?
by Zale Thoronka, age 12
Did you know the movie Jurassic Park probably featured Deinonychus dinosaurs instead of Velociraptors?
The Deinonychus dinosaur was not the first raptor-like dinosaur to be found, but it is one of the largest at 10 feet long. It had three claws on each hand and four toes on each foot. There was one small toe, one extra-big toe, and one normal-sized toe, which it stood on. The fourth toe was used to kill, and it worked like the blade of a can opener. In addition, the Deinonychus had sharp, serrated teeth, long limbs, and a huge tail.
Deinonychus had a relatively large brain, so it was intelligent. It was fast and strong on its feet. Like an acrobat, it could jump very high and perhaps twist mid-air. And the Deinonychus could use its sharp claws as hooks to climb up the bodies of its prey.
Scientists believe they lived and hunted in packs because more Deinonychus could take down bigger prey, much like modern-day wolves. Once it found its prey, the Deinonychus would kill it by making long, deep cuts in its flesh before eating it.
At 10 feet long, only a Deinonychus dinosaur would have been big enough to stalk the protagonists of the Jurassic Park film. Velociraptors were actually only about as big as a modern wild turkey! And there is one more thing the movie got wrong. Both Velociraptor and Deinonychus dinosaurs were covered in feathers!
[Sources: A Guide to Dinosaurs; Smithsonian Magazine]