How TERRIFYING Were VELOCIRAPTORS?
In 1993 moviegoers were scared stiff when they saw Velociraptors terrorizing visitors in Jurassic Park. Most of the people in the audience had no idea that what Steven Spielberg called a Velociraptor was actually modeled on a similar but far bigger dinosaur, the Deinonychus. A Velociraptor was about the size of a wolf and weighed less than 100 pounds. “But pound for pound, Velociraptor was the most rapacious dinosaur that ever lived,” says Michael Crichton, author of the science fiction novel Jurassic Park upon which the movie was based. But they were not the pack hunters the book and movie depicted. Similar to birds of prey today, they were probably lone hunters who used their claws to clutch prey, not to slash them. And humans had nothing to fear from them because we were still nonexistent: Velociraptors lived in Asia some 70 million years ago, long before Homo sapiens evolved.