Best of 2015 // #95: Running with Raptors


While Chris Pratt was running around and motorbiking a Jurassic World with suped-up Velociraptors, real-life palaeontologists were analyzing some unique fossilized tracks made by a Raptor over 100 million years ago.  The paper, published in May in Paleoworld documented the first known imprints of the dinosaur’s infamous third-toe claw.

READ MORE // The First Snake

Much like the Velociraptors on-screen, these track-leaving dinos come from a group known as Deinonychosaurs, which all walked and ran on two toes.

Deinonychosaurs typically kept the third tow raised

and the claw retracted like a bigger house cat,

to keep its secret weapon safe.

“The ground would dull the claw…That’s also why a cat’s claw can rough you up, but a dog’s, not so much” – Scott Persons, Palaeontologist, University of Alberta

Raptor third toe claw track Imprint of a Raptor Deinonychosaur

Persons thinks that the unique three-toes raptor tracks his team found in central China last year may have been made while the coyote-sized raptors were moving through deep mud.  As they moved into deeper mud, they used their usually retracted claws for traction, like cleats on a sports shoe.

There’s 99 more stories from 2015.  Check out the Best of 2015 series here

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