Velociraptor “giganticus” (*) (C/N)

The first fossil remnants of Achillobator giganticus were first found in 1989, although large fossils from the general area had already suggested a larger species of Velociraptor was present in the area as described by Gregory S. Paul in his 1988 book Predatory Dinosaurs of the World.  In 2007, quill nobs were found on the arms of a newly discovered specimen of Velociraptor mongolienses which proves that V. mongoliensis–and presumably other dromaeosaurs such as Achillobator–were feathered extensively. Though originally classified as a Velociraptor,  Achillobator is now recognized as its own genus of dromaeosaur, and has been for many years.

In Jurassic Park, the Velociraptor is described as being six feet tall; this would put them on a size comparable to the Mongolian Achillobator, which was then an undescribed and unnamed species of Velociraptor. This is consistent with what Henry Wu describes of the amber the raptor were bred from originating from Chinese rock, which is the  type of rock that produces Achillobator (Crichton 116).

Velociraptor is first seen on Isla Nublar in the nursery of the Visitor Center labs. The raptor in the nursery was just an infant, only six weeks old, and was “about a foot and a half long, the size of a small monkey. It was dark yellow with brown stripes, like a tiger.” The infant displayed one of the raptors’ characteristic abilities–their superb jumping powers–as it leaped over Grant and into Tim Murphy’s arms. The adults are seen next when Tim, Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm find the pen that contains the adult raptors. The adult form was described as being “basically the same color as the infant’s: yellow-brown with darker reddish markings, like the stripes of a tiger.” Three raptors quickly attacked the group; the entire attack lasted no longer than six seconds, exhibiting another one of their characteristic traits: coordinated pack hunting. The next raptor seen is a wild sub-adult, witnessed by Tim when passing the apatosaur/hadrosaur paddock during the tour, but when Tim alerted the group to its presence, it was dismissed as an Othnielia that had jumped its fence. Wild raptors were seen again during the tour by Lex and Tim. Two juveniles are seen on the stern (back) deck of the Anne B. A juvenile raptor is later found by, and briefly attempts the attack of, Grant, in the tunnel behind the waterfall. The juvenile was a small, two foot tall male that Grant tranquilized.

The adult raptors were seen again following their escape; three of them surrounded John Arnold as he was entering the maintenance shed, but Robert Muldoon managed to kill one and divert their attention from Arnold. They then pinned Muldoon in a drainage pipe, but he successfully injured one by shooting its leg off. However, one of the raptors followed Arnold into the maintenance building and killed him; it proceeded to attack Donald Gennaro when he, too, entered the building, but was distracted when Wu rescued Muldoon and he survived. After following Wu back to the Safari Lodge, two raptors tried to enter the building through the skylights by chewing through the iron bars. Three more raptors attacked Sattler when she went out to distract them; simultaneously, another raptor attacked Tim and Lex in the Visitor Center kitchen but became trapped in the freezer. At the lodge, Wu was killed by a raptor which attacked him from above as he tried to get Sattler’s attention, and Gerry Harding was injured with another in the process of saving Sattler.

While Tim and Lex are in the Visitors Center attemptign to restore power to the Park, three raptors leaped onto the second level balcony of the Visitor Center and chased Tim and Lex into the nursery. Here the infant raptor from the nursery reappeared, jumping and chirping nervously as the adults followed Tim and Lex into the nursery. Tim threw the infant at the adults to distract them, and they promptly tore it apart. While the raptors were distracted, Tim and Lex entered the DNA-extraction lab, where they encountered Grant and Gennaro. Grant then led the raptors into the hatchery, and killed two of the raptors by enticing them to eat eggs he had injected with poison. However, the second raptor scattered the rest of the eggs in the throes of death, so Grant resorted to directly injecting the last raptor with the poison, distracting it with Ellie’s voice coming from the radio.

Once Tim reactivated the power to the Safari Lodge’s skylight bars, electrocuting and killing the raptors that were trying to attack the occupants. Gennaro then used the phone lines to call the Anne B and prevent the raptors on board from reaching the mainland. Lex outfitted the male raptor that Grant had tranquilized with a radio collar in order to track it back to the nest, and affectionately named it Clarence. While she attached the collar, the raptor briefly changed color, representing a chameleon-like power that only the wild raptors possessed. Grant, Gennaro, Sattler, and Muldoon then followed the baby to the raptor nest in the southern part of the island where they entered the raptor nest, discovering a large group of raptors comprised of a few adults guarding a large clutch of juveniles. The raptors here were not vicious, instead peacefully watching over the infants. Between twenty-two and thirty-three infants were counted in the nest when they noticed the raptors were aligning themselves along a northeast to southwest plane. When the raptors suddenly ran to the beach it was revealed that the raptors had been hearing the sounds of a passing freighter. On the beach, they still aligned along the northeast/southwest plane, but were now organized in a highly structured pattern. Grant commented that there were some behaviors in dinosaurs that could not be explained, but with the realization of their relation to birds, it became clear that the raptors had an urge to migrate.

Presumably, the raptors on Isla Nublar were destroyed when the island was bombed during the airlift rescue from the Park. It was revealed later, however, that reports of animals moving in a straight line–similar to migration–were eating lysine-rich foods, which seems to suggest that some of the raptors managed to escape and migrate.

Being one of the dinosaurs that had amphibian DNA fragments, the Velociraptors were confirmed to have bred with an expected population of eight, an actual population of thirty-seven, and an equalized population of twenty-seven. They were expected to be Version 3.0, but it was impossible for the computer to accurately assign a version number because of their unplanned breeding.

In the 1995 expeditions to Isla Sorna, InGen’s Site B, raptors were first seen in the grassy valley, where they were seen by the group in the high hide near the river which housed a herd of Parasaurolophus and Apatosaurus. They were described as “green-brown with dark-red stripes like a tiger;” this seems to conflict with the coloration described of the raptors in 1989, though there are multiple possible explanations, though these are all speculation. They were seen trying to attack the herds, but were repelled by the tails of the Apatosaurs. They appeared again later, hunting a group of Triceratops. They tried to attack from two sides, but one group was blocked by the river and the attack went uncompleted. After Lewis Dodgson‘s plans turn to disaster, the raptors attacked and killed Howard King as he tried to find his way back to the boat he had come to Isla Sorna on; after he was killed, the organized behavior that the raptors displayed disappeared and they fell into a feeding frenzy.

Following the attack on the trailer by the Tyrannosaurus rex, the raptors appeared again: twelve moved through the long grass in the direction of the high hide, and almost passed by it without ever noticing. However, one raptor noticed a candy bar wrapper on the ground at the base of the high hide, and the pack proceeded to attack. Eventually, they climbed to the top and managed to pull Eddie Carr out of the high hide; in the fray, R. B. Benton also fell out. Though the raptors killed Eddie Carr immediately, Arby managed to get into the predator cage at the bottom of the high hide and save himself, but one of the raptors accidentally took the key to the cage while the rest of the pack rolled the cage away. Kelly Curtis and Sarah Harding chased the raptor with the key on a motorcycle, and Kelly eventually shot it and retrieved the key. At the same time, Jack Thorne and Richard Levine followed the raptors that were moving the cage back to their nest, running the jeep through the nest and putting the cage on the roof. As they made their escape, a raptor clung to the jeep, nearly ripping off the cage, but Levine killed it before it could do any damage.

More raptors attacked the keep: one was run over in the process, and another was killed when it was slammed into a cliff face; another leaped onto the back of the jeep, but Kelly shot and killed it after she and Sarah caught up to the jeep. The raptors continued chasing Sarah and Kelly, but they subdued the pursuing raptors with gas grenades. Later a raptor kicked in the door of the computer room and broke in.  Levine held off the raptor long enough for the group to escape.

On Isla Nublar, Velociraptor was observed to be very parental. Their nest was very structured, with pairs of adults tending to the offspring. However, on Isla Sorna, the raptors had been left to their own devices. Along with the DX infection,  the generation of raptors observed had no parental precedent to set their behavior. As a result, they behaved extremely violently towards each other; there was even an instance in which a raptor attacked one of its packmates at a kill, and it was quickly cannibalized by the others. Ian Malcolm would reflect that raised without parents or guidance, the Velociraptors were not fully functional. He compared their development to Chimpanzees, noting that the apes carried behavior and adaption strategies by teching, but the raptors had no such teachers.