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"Robber from Utah"
Utahraptor was a large, terrifying mid-Cretaceous predator with 9-15 inch long middle-toe claws. It was a lightly built, fast-moving, agile, bipedal (walked on two legs), bird-like dinosaur. It had a curved, flexible neck and a big head. Sharp, serrated teeth were set into very powerful jaws. Each of its three fingers on each arm had large, sharp, curved claw.
It had four-toed feet; the second toe had a 9-15 inch (23-38 cm) sickle-like claw and the other toes had smaller claws. Its long tail had bony rods running along the spine giving it rigidity; the tail was used for balance and fast turning ability. It had a relatively large brain and large, keen, eyes. Utahraptor was 16-23 feet (5-7 m) long and may have weighed about 1 ton.
WHEN UTAHRAPTOR LIVED
Utahraptor lived in the early Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago.
Utahraptor, like other dromaeosaurids, may have hunted in packs, attacking even very large animals, perhaps even large sauropods and ankylosaurids.
Utahraptor was a dromaeosaurid, whose intelligence (as measured by its relative brain to body weight, or EQ) was the highest among the dinosaurs.
Utahraptor was a carnivore, a meat eater. It probably ate just about anything it could slash and tear apart. When hunting in packs, Utahraptor could probably kill any prey it desired.
Utahraptor walked on two slender, bird-like legs; it must have been a fast runner, considering its legs and light weight. When it ran, it rotated its huge middle-toe-claw upwards and ran on the other toes.
DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Utahraptor was first found in eastern Utah (in the western United States) in 1991. It was named by paleontologists James Ian Kirkland, Robert Gaston and Donald Burge in 1993.
Utahraptor belonged to the:
- Kingdom Animalia (animals)
- Phylum Chordata (having a hollow nerve chord ending in a brain)
- Class Archosauria (diapsids with socket-set teeth, etc.)
- Order Saurischia - lizard-hipped dinosaurs
- Suborder Theropoda - bipedal carnivores
- Infraorder Coelurosauria - lightly-built fast-running predators with hollow bones and large brains
- Superfamily Maniraptoriformes - advanced coelurosaurs with a fused wrist bone
- Family Dromaeosauridae - the smartest dinosaurs. They were equipped with sickle-like foot claws. These included Velociraptor, Utahraptor, Saurornitholestes, and Dromaeosaurus).
- Genus Utahraptor
- species ostrummaysorum (the type species).
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