Velociraptor “antirrhopus” (*) (S/F) / (S/F-T/G) (S/F-S)

Disambiguation Links – Velociraptor “antirrhopus” (IDW-DG) / Velociraptor “antirrhopus nublarensis” (IDW-JPR) / Velociraptor “giganticus” (C/N) / Velociraptor (sp.) (J/N) / Velociraptor “antirrhopus” (T/C) / Velociraptor “antirrhopus” (CB-Topps)

Velociraptor antirrhopus (popularly called the “raptor”) is a medium-sized, aberrant species of genetically-modified dromaeosaurid dinosaur. Its genus name means “swift thief,” a reference to its quick movement speed and predatory nature. The variety bred by International Genetic Technologies exhibits an abnormally large number of phenotypic anomalies, which Jurassic-Pedia has acknowledged by assigning a new specific epithet, antirrhopus; this translates to “counterbalancing,” a reference to the function of the lengthy tail. Jurassic-Pedia staff intended this specific epithet to reference the similarity in size between InGen’s Velociraptor and the related North American species Deinonychus antirrhopus. American freelance researcher Gregory S. Paul classified Deinonychus as a species of Velociraptor in his 1988 book Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, leading to the InGen specimens sometimes being referred to as “Velociraptor antirrhopus sensu Paul.” This is, however, incorrect terminology today, as Deinonychus has been confirmed in multiple supplementary media sources to exist alongside the InGen Velociraptor. The “sensu Paul” terminology may still be applied (albeit erroneously) to fossil specimens excavated in Montana by Dr. Alan Grant, who as of 2001 still used Gregory S. Paul’s classification to describe North American dromaeosaurid remains which are most likely Deinonychus.

The taxonomy used to describe InGen Velociraptors, it should be noted, is not film-canon, but rather used here for purposes of clarity. In-universe, both V. mongoliensis and V. osmolskae are acknowledged to exist; this makes it unclear from which species InGen obtained DNA. Additionally, Deinonychus antirrhopus was cloned by InGen between 2005 and 2015, indicating that these genera are considered separate within the films’ universe despite Dr. Grant’s continued usage of Velociraptor as a wastebasket taxon.

Fossil specimens of Velociraptor are known from the late Cretaceous period, 75 to 71 million years ago, and have been found in Mongolia and China.

Velociraptor was first discovered in the Mongolian Gobi Desert on August 11, 1923 by Peter Kaisen; the remains consisted of a crushed skull and one of the 6.5-centimeter (2.6-inch) raptorial claws. The genus was named officially by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1924; he had originally mentioned it as “Ovoraptor djadochtari,” but this name was never formally published, and it was eventually named Velociraptor mongoliensis (meaning “swift thief from Mongolia”). The raptorial claw was originally assumed to belong to the hand, but was eventually discovered to belong to the second toe.

During the Cold War, tensions between the capitalist United States and communist Mongolia prevented American research into the Gobi Desert. However, scientists from the Soviet Union, Poland, and Mongolia itself were able to continue research, discovering more Velociraptor remains. These included the “Fighting Dinosaurs” fossil found in 1971, a dramatic specimen consisting of a Velociraptor and small ceratopsid Protoceratops which had perished while in combat with one another. Between 1998 and 1990, a joint Chinese-Canadian expedition discovered further specimens in the region.

In 1999, the Sino-Belgian Dinosaur Expeditions recovered maxillae (the tooth-bearing bones of the upper jaw) and a lacrimal (a bone located in the front of the eye socket) belonging to Velociraptor from the Inner Mongolia region of China; researchers determined that they did not belong to V. mongoliensis, but to a new species. This species was named Velociraptor osmolskae by Pascal Godefroit and colleagues in 2008, the name honoring recently-deceased Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmólska.

Fossil quill knobs discovered in September 2007 confirm that, as paleontologists had suspected, the Velociraptor would have had a coat of birdlike feathers, possibly for display or insulation. Fossil specimens demonstrate that this species grew to 2.07 meters (6.8 feet) in length, 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) high at the hip, and weighed between 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and 19.7 kilograms (43 pounds).

Footprint of V. antirrhopus ssp. The second (leftmost in this image) toe is usually held off the ground to prevent the large raptorial claw from dulling, so a raptor print is more likely to feature only two toes. (Image from the Dinosaur Protection Group)

InGen Velociraptors were first cloned by Dr. Henry Wu in 1991 after a few failed attempts ended in karyolysis. The animals were intended for display in Jurassic Park; the park staff’s inability to properly maintain these dinosaurs resulted in the death of InGen employee Jophrey Brown, which set into motion a series of events now known as the 1993 Isla Nublar incident. As of June 11, 1993, InGen had created up to Version 2.0 of this species. They were eventually integrated into the Jurassic World theme park, but once again, were not ready for display to the public prior to the park closing. Human interference has brought Velociraptor antirrhopus to the brink of extinction.

Three distinct variants of V. antirrhopus have been documented. Based on physical appearance, locality, and genetic modification, Jurassic-Pedia has tentatively assigned subspecies names to each one: V. a. nublarensis, found on both Isla Nublar and central Isla Sorna; V. a. sornaensis, known from a population originating on western Isla Sorna; and V. a. masranii, a genetically-modified version first hatched on Isla Nublar in 2012.

Description

InGen’s Velociraptor exhibits an abnormally large number of phenotypic anomalies, which are presumed to be the result of genetic modification (whether the modification was accidental or intentional is subject to much debate). The most marked physiological difference is the size; all three subspecies grow between 3.4 meters (11 feet) and 4.6 meters (15 feet) in length, roughly 250% larger than fossil Velociraptor species (and also slightly larger than Deinonychus antirrhopus). They stand around 1.8 meters (6 feet) tall when holding their heads upright, and are estimated to weigh between 150 and 350 pounds. They are homeothermic, maintaining a body temperature of 32.8 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit).

Mature female V. a. nublarensis. The skin color is actually brown, but appears to be gray-green under this particular lighting.

The skull is more rectangular and with a taller snout, as opposed to the narrow, low skull of fossil species. In V. a. sornaensis and some V. a. masranii, there are crescent-shaped nasal ridges on the snout, located between the nostrils and the eye sockets, but these are far less prominent in V. a. nublarensis. Additionally, the eye morphology differs between the subspecies; both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. masranii have large eyes with yellow sclerae and black slit pupils like those found in some nocturnal reptiles, but V. a. sornaensis has smaller eyes with circular pupils like those of birds. Sclera coloration in V. a. sornaensis is sexually dimorphic, with red sclerae in males and yellow sclerae in females. Sexual dimorphism is also observable in V. a. nublarensis eyes, where females have yellow sclerae and males have green sclerae. The nostrils and eyes both face forward; raptors are noted to have an extraordinary sense of smell, with at least V. a. masranii being capable of smelling accurately within a mile radius. The tongue is pink, narrow, and pointed, but not particularly muscular.

Scan of a fossilized skull of “Velociraptorantirrhopus (most likely Deinonychus) uncovered in Montana by Dr. Alan Grant and colleagues. Note the bony resonating chamber located toward the front, nearly identical to that found in V. a. sornaensis.

The number of teeth differs between fossil and genetically modified species. Fossil Velociraptors are believed to have had between 26 and 28 serrated teeth, widely spaced in the mouth, while InGen’s Velociraptors have around fifty long, blade-like teeth packed closely together. Despite these differences in skull morphology, however, V. a. sornaensis possesses a bony resonating chamber in its snout which is virtually identical to one discovered in a “Velociraptorantirrhopus (probably Deinonychus) fossil discovered by Dr. Alan Grant near Fort Peck Lake, Montana in 2001. The brain of this dinosaur is also quite large; fossil species are believed to have had intelligence similar to that of small mammals such as cats or opossums, but Dr. Grant has hypothesized that even extinct dromaeosaurids may have had intelligence exceeding those of cetaceans and primates, making them potentially the second-most intelligent organisms known. InGen’s cloned specimens certainly exhibit extraordinarily high intelligence levels. Scans of the temporal lobe have revealed high levels of brain activity related to memory, organization and sequencing, and receptive memory.

The limbs of Velociraptor are heavily armed with sharp, curved claws. Both the arms and legs are lengthy and muscular; the hands have three fingers each, which are also long and terminate in narrow but extremely sharp claws. These enable the raptor to grapple with objects in its environment, as well as allowing it to cling to prey items. Its powerful legs allow it to run at very high speeds, with record speeds of fifty to sixty miles per hour in V. a. nublarensis while V. a. masranii can run at a more modest forty to fifty miles per hour. The top speed of V. a. sornaensis has not been confirmed, but appears to be within the range of the other two subspecies. The feet have four toes each; the first is a dewclaw, a small vestigial digit that does not reach the ground when the animal stands upright. The second toe possesses a greatly enlarged raptorial claw, which averages six inches in length (twice the size of those of fossil species). Highly curved with a flesh-piercing tip, this claw is designed to stab into prey items. The third and fourth toes are simpler, possessing smaller but still very sharp talons. The pubis is highly prominent in all subspecies except for V. a. masranii; the reduced pubis in this subspecies is one of its primary diagnostic features.

Size comparison between (from top to bottom) adults of Velociraptor antirrhopus, Utahraptor ostrommaysorum, and Deinonychus antirrhopus

The tail of the Velociraptor makes up around half its length, and is used both for counterbalance while running and for expressive communication. Paleontologists long believed that the tail was extremely stiff, unable to bend or flex at all; evidence uncovered in the 1980s and 1990s show some evidence that the tail was actually somewhat flexible. The tail of V. antirrhopus, however, is noticeably more flexible than those of currently-known fossils.

Along with these various phenotypic anomalies, Velociraptor antirrhopus is afflicted by the typical errors that plague InGen’s theropods, including pronated wrists and a lack of feathery integument. The lack of feathers would have been plausible in 1991 when the animals were cloned, but 2007 fossil evidence confirmed beyond a doubt that the animal would naturally have been feathered. InGen’s Dr. Henry Wu did recognize this error long before fossil remains proved the existence of feathers on this species; however, null alleles in the genomes of all his theropods inhibited the development of feathers. As of February 20, 2003, he recorded that null alleles created by the integration of amphibian, reptile, and bird genes had prevented him from engineering dinosaurs which grew feathers properly. The closest any cloned Velociraptors have come to feathers as of 2018 are the quills present on the skull of male V. a. sornaensis.

Coloration of the scaly skin on Velociraptor varies greatly based on subspecies. The most historically common subspecies, V. a. nublarensis, features camouflaging patterns; the females are an earthy brown color and may have darker brown striping, though under certain lighting their bodies can appear gray-green, while the males are orange with black or gray vertical stripes. Subjects V-2 and A-2 from the IBRIS Project exhibit some variation in color; they are almost certainly second-generation V. a. nublarensis as they were already adults when the IBRIS Project began in 2012. Subject V-2, a female, features light blue patterning over her brown base coloration, while Subject A-2 has reduced striping patterns and lighter skin. Subject A-2 is presumed to be a male due to its orange color, but no information about it has been disclosed, including its sex.

Skeletal display of a mature V. a. masranii.

The brown coloration appears to be the base of V. a. masranii, with the individual “Echo” displaying tan skin and bluish-gray striping. Specimens in the game Jurassic World: Evolution demonstrate greenish-brown coloration. The remaining three specimens of V. a. masranii had coloration altered by gene splicing. Some speculation has suggested that a male V. a. masranii could be green in color, a pattern not known in any other subspecies, but there is no direct evidence to confirm the creation of such an animal.

V. a. sornaensis is certainly the most vibrantly-colored of all three subspecies, particularly the males. In the male of this subspecies, the base color is a purplish-mahogany on the dorsal side with a sandy tan color to the underbelly. Extending from the neck to the tail are a pair of blue-white stripes, one on either side of the purplish upper half; some males may have a “dotted line” pattern rather than a solid stripe. The nasal crests are bright red, while the small collection of quills on the back of the head are black and white. The female of V. a. sornaensis is more camouflaged, with a beige or white base color and black spot patterns; she may have black or red skin around the eyes. The junior novel Survivor, which has not yet been reviewed for canon status by Universal Studios, describes Velociraptors (presumably V. a. sornaensis, though possibly V. a. nublarensis) with green and yellow or green and black coloration; the alpha male of this particular pride was said to have red rings on his chest. Such colorations have not been observed since, though it has been suggested that the animals change color during the breeding season.

Growth

Due to the immense popularity of this species, the growth stages of Velociraptor antirrhopus have been documented in greater detail than any other de-extinct animal. The hatchling stage of V. a. nublarensis has a large head and disproportionately large eyes, features that are presumably also present in V. a. masranii and possibly V. a. sornaensis. The hatchlings are able to walk within a day, though, and the growth rate is fairly rapid (and possibly increased by genetic modification and/or growth hormones supplied by their caretakers).

Hatchling V. a. nublarensis in the laboratory, Isla Nublar (6/11/1993)

According to InGen game warden Robert Muldoon, raptors are capable of killing their own prey within eight weeks of hatching. A similar level of intelligence and hunting ability has been observed in four V. a. masranii reared by InGen animal behaviorist Owen Grady. At this age, the adult body proportions begin to take shape; InGen’s original V. a. nublarensis were hatched sometime after September 20, 1991 and were sexually mature in mid-to-late May of 1993 before their relocation in early June. This means that they matured in, at most, one year and eight months. The growth rates of the other two subspecies are not known; the four V. a. masranii were hatched at an undisclosed date in 2012, and were mature by 2014.

Sexual Dimorphism

Both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. sornaensis exhibit fairly obvious sexual dimorphism. Male V. a. masranii have never been observed (as far as is known, none have ever been hatched), so it is not known if sexual dimorphism is equally observable in this subspecies.

In Velociraptor antirrhopus nublarensis, sexual dimorphism is present in bodily coloration. Both sexes are adapted for camouflaging in woodland or grassland environments, so presumably the difference in color is exclusively used for display. Females are an earthy brown color and may have darker striping on the dorsal side, and have yellow sclerae. Males, on the other hand, are orange with black or gray vertical stripes, and have green-tinted sclerae. The male’s coloration is brighter, like in many birds, but its vertical light-and-dark stripe patterning would still enable it to hide easily in tall grass or dense foliage, much like the modern tiger, which has a similar stripe pattern. It should be noted that, due to the inclusion of common reed frog (Hyperolius viridiflavus) DNA, V. a. nublarensis is capable of protogyny. When this occurs, the female genital structure falls apart and is replaced by that of the male. The outward appearance of the animal does not immediately change, so a male animal may still outwardly resemble a female. It is not known if the influence of male hormones causes the outward appearance of the animal’s body to change given enough time, as no specimens have been observed through the entire transition process.

Head of a female V. a. nublarensis
Head of a male V. a. nublarensis

In V. a. sornaensis, sexual dimorphism is more prominent than in V. a. nublarensis. The skull shape differs between the male and female, with the male’s nasal ridges being larger and featuring a bright red coloration (at least during the breeding season). The male also has a small number of black-and-white quills on the back of his skull, which can be raised and lowered in display. Sexually dimorphic coloration is more dramatic than in V. a. nublarensis as well, with the males displaying a vibrant purplish color with tan countershading as well as a blue-white stripe or line of spots down each flank. The female, on the other hand, is a simple beige or white color and possesses erratic black or gray splotches which presumably serve a camouflage purpose. The female may have reddish skin around the eyes, though some have been depicted with black skin around the eyes. The color of the sclerae is also sexually dimorphic, with males having red or orange sclerae and females having yellow sclerae. It is not known whether the V. a. sornaensis genome incorporates DNA from Hyperolius viridiflavus, and therefore whether it is capable of protogyny.

Character study of a male V. a. sornaensis head
Character study of a female V. a. sornaensis head
Habitat
Preferred Habitat

The fossil species V. mongoliensis and V. osmolskae are believed to have inhabited both forested and desert environments, suggesting that they were adaptable and capable of withstanding a variety of climates. Velociraptor antirrhopus, though it differs from its fossil ancestors in many ways, also appears capable of adapting to various ecosystems. Its original paddock on Isla Nublar was heavily forested, with massive Moreton Bay figs (Ficus macrophylla) throughout; this habitat was suitable for breeding, indicating that it was a healthy environment type for the animals. During the incident, escaped raptors were shown to favor enclosed spaces for hunting, including artificial structures such as the maintenance and utility shed, Visitors’ Centre, and the maintenance and service tunnels.

Populations living in the wild also appeared competent at hunting within artificial structures, but generally favored more naturalistic environs. In particular, V. a. nublarensis were observed living in a field of elephant grass (possibly Saccharum ravennae or Pennisetum purpureum) near the Workers’ Village in central Isla Sorna, whereas V. a. sornaensis inhabited a wetter jungle in the island’s western hills near the Embryonics, Administration, and Laboratories Compound. Both subspecies were clearly comfortable on grassy plains, which permit them to make full use of their speed and agility.

The only known survivors of attempts to breed V. a. masranii, Isla Nublar (c. 2012)

The preferred habitat of V. a. masranii cannot be studied for certain due to the fact that three out of four living specimens died within an hour of their release into the wild. The sole survivor, an animal named “Blue,” favored the northern forests of Isla Nublar between her 2015 release and 2018 removal from the island, particularly the area surrounding Mount Sibo. In the game Jurassic World: Evolution, V. a. masranii require 14,000 square meters of grassland and 5,200 square meters of forest within their territory to be comfortable.

Isla Nublar

Beginning in 1991 or 1992, InGen began delivering Velociraptor antirrhopus nublarensis to Isla Nublar for Jurassic Park. In total, eight raptors were originally shipped to the island, placed in a paddock designed to suit their needs. This paddock covered a large, mostly forested area at the north end of the Jungle River. Surrounded on all sides by a twenty-four-foot electric fence, it was bordered by the tyrannosaur paddock to the north, the Gallimimus paddock to the south, the tertiary Dilophosaurus paddock to the east, and the primary herbivore paddock to the west and northwest (containing both Parasaurolophus and Brachiosaurus).

Not all were introduced simultaneously; when the eighth (dubbed “The Big One” by Robert Muldoon) was introduced, a violent restructuring of power occurred, with the newcomer killing all but two of the others (dubbed “Randy” and “Kim” by fans). The three survivors continued to cause security concerns, and were therefore transferred from their paddock to a small holding pen in the central island. At an unknown time before their transfer, some of the Velociraptors had bred, indicating that at least one had changed sex from female to male. It is not known if this male was among the survivors. At least one nest was eventually discovered, the remains of eight eggs within.

A photograph in the Jurassic Park Field Guide shows an infant raptor hatching in a nest containing at least four eggs, but this individual’s fate (and that of the other four eggs) is unknown. Based on the presence of Herrerasaurus in the book, this would have occurred sometime between the decision to transport The Big One and subordinates to the holding pen and the June incident.

Paddock range and holding pen area (red) and speculative placement of southern quarantine pens (purple) of V. a. nublarensis on Isla Nublar (paddock range prior to early June 1993; holding pen areas prior to June 12, 1993)

John Hammond imported a pride of five additional female Velociraptors to Isla Sorna following the loss of most of Isla Nublar’s raptors, and they were stored in the southern quarantine pens. Before they could be integrated into the pride, the relocation of the raptors was deemed necessary, and Hammond determined that the former raptor paddock would instead be used for Herrerasaurus. Unlike with the original raptor pride, there is no evidence of these five breeding, and thus no evidence that any had become male.

One infant raptor hatched in the morning of June 11, 1993 out of a nest containing nine eggs. The eggs in the original raptor paddock hatched after the tropical storm which made landfall on Isla Nublar in the afternoon of June 11. The newly-hatched raptors traveled away from the nest; their location for the next year would be unknown.

On June 12, 1993, during the incident on Isla Nublar, power was cut to the raptor holding pen and the three adults enclosed within escaped into the nearby forest. The Big One was eventually trapped within the maintenance shed by Dr. Ellie Sattler, while Randy and Kim made their way toward the Visitors’ Centre. The Big One was able to escape the maintenance shed and made her way toward the Visitors’ Centre where her subordinates were hunting. During the attack on the Visitors’ Centre, Randy became trapped in a walk-in freezer while Kim continued to pursue the humans; The Big One joined in, but was ambushed and killed by the park’s Tyrannosaurus. Randy was subsequently also killed by the larger predator.

During the evening and night of June 12, the replacement pride from the southern quarantine pens also escaped by unknown means. They traveled north across the island, entering the maintenance tunnels through an entrance near Dr. Laura Sorkin’s research paddock. One was killed by the Tyrannosaurus during an incidence of kleptoparasitism by the tyrannosaur, and a second was killed within the maintenance tunnels by a mercenary acting in defense of the incident’s survivors. The remaining three adults were last seen in the maintenance tunnels near the geothermal power plant.

Known (red) and hypothetical (purple) range of V. a. nublarensis on Isla Nublar after June 12, 1993 and before October 5, 1994

The 1994 survey carried out by InGen on Isla Nublar recovered the remains of multiple deceased infant Velociraptors, but the total population on the island was recorded as unknown.

Film posters imply that some Velociraptors did survive over the next decade while Jurassic World was under construction and may have been breeding; as of February 20, 2003 Dr. Henry Wu was still working on their genome. However, Simon Masrani stated in August 2004 that no Velociraptors were currently present on Isla Nublar. Any survivors may have been temporarily relocated to Isla Sorna between 2002 and 2004.

During 2004 and 2005, numerous specimens of V. a. nublarensis and V. a. sornaensis were transported from Isla Sorna to Isla Nublar. The first, a female V. a. nublarensis, arrived in September; however, it was euthanized following an incident in which it killed an intern. The remainder of Isla Sorna’s population was transported over the course of the next eight months, one at a time to prevent them from organizing during transport. Each raptor would be integrated into habitats in Sector 5 after a few weeks in the quarantine paddock, where they would be kept apart from tourists and could be studied.

The Jurassic Intel website’s Guide to Dinosaur Eggs (published non-canonically on August 30, 2018) describes raptors being hatched in the Hammond Creation Lab during Jurassic World’s operational phase; their eventual fate is unknown, but they were likely moved to habitat in Sector 5 once they began to mature. No publicly-accessible attractions including Velociraptor are known to have ever existed on Isla Nublar between 2005 and 2015.

In the early stages of the IBRIS Project, which began in 2012, at least one and possibly two V. a. nublarensis were under the care of InGen Security, now owned by Masrani Global Corporation. These specimens, including a female designated Subject V-2, were deemed too aggressive and unpredictable for the project and were rejected. Their fate remains undisclosed.

B-420 “Blue,” a mature female V. a. masranii

By 2012, Dr. Henry Wu had succeeded in genetically modifying Velociraptor embryos to create a new variant; they were created sometime prior to May 15 (the animated short LEGO film Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit depicts a different origin story for these raptors with a hatching date of May 23 instead, but is not canon). This new type of raptor has been named Velociraptor antirrhopus masranii by Jurassic-Pedia for the sake of expediency. Four of the specimens survived infancy; InGen animal behaviorist Owen Grady named them “Blue,” “Delta,” “Echo,” and “Charlie.” As of the publication of the Jurassic World Employee Handbook, Velociraptors of the other two subspecies still existed under the care of Masrani Global Corporation. The four V. a. masranii were kept within a specially-designed paddock located on the eastern coast of Isla Nublar. They were released for the first time during the incident on December 18, 2015; within an hour of their release, Charlie had died during a firefight in Sector 5, and shortly thereafter Delta and Echo were killed during conflict with the Indominus rex on Main Street. This left Blue as the sole surviving V. a. masranii on the island.

Over the next three years, Blue survived in the island’s northern reaches, eventually settling just south of Mount Sibo and hunting in the surrounding area. The impending eruption of Mount Sibo resulted in her evacuation from the island on June 23, 2018 at the behest of Henry Wu. With Blue’s removal from the island, no Velociraptors remained on Isla Nublar.

Isla Sorna

Both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. sornaensis were present on Isla Sorna some time after September 20, 1991. Embryonic specimens 4x, 6x, and 7x had, by that point, failed within six days due to karyolysis, but Dr. Wu nonetheless succeeded in cloning the animal by replacing its donor DNA to a more compatible species. By February 13, 1992, specimens of Velociraptor had grown old enough to exhibit the collective intelligence typical of prides of their species. It is not known where on the island these animals resided, or what their population statistics were between 1991 and 1993.

In 1992 or 1993, a total of eight supposedly-female V. a. nublarensis were shipped to Isla Nublar. Following the deaths of five of these specimens, an additional five females were shipped to the island to replace them. There is no evidence that V. a. sornaensis was considered for park use, and it has been suggested that it may not have existed yet in 1993.

At last count before InGen’s evacuation of Isla Sorna in late 1993, there were a total of 18 raptors living on Isla Sorna. Which subspecies had which proportion is unknown.

It has been suggested that V. a. sornaensis was created during InGen’s illegal operations on Isla Nublar in 1998 and 1999, or that this subspecies is the offspring of the original generation of V. a. nublarensis. The latter explanation, while popular, is highly unlikely; such dramatic morphological change in a single generation is unprecedented in vertebrate animals. Alternatively, these traits may have always existed in the parent population, and either InGen or naturally-occurring behavioral differences “sorted” the two different phenotypes.

During the night of May 24, 1997, the expeditions sent by John Hammond and Peter Ludlow encountered ten adult V. a. nublarensis near the Workers’ Village on Isla Sorna. The pride consisted of both males and females, but the exact numbers of each sex have yet to be determined. One male may have died due to injuries sustained during the incident, but this is not known for certain. Thermal scans of the island had previously identified raptor nesting sites in the island interior, near where they were observed by the expeditions.

Known (red) range of V. a. nublarensis on Isla Sorna as of May 24, 1997

Between May 23 and July 19 of 2001, the individuals involved with the Eric Kirby affair encountered multiple Velociraptors, particularly V. a. sornaensis. The junior novel Survivor, which is subject to canon review by Universal Studios at their discretion, describes at least nineteen raptors living in the southwest of Isla Sorna, including a dominant male dubbed “Red Rings” by Eric Kirby. One raptor was confirmed to have been killed during an attack on a sickly Tyrannosaurus. Some weeks prior, at the Embryonics, Administration, and Laboratories Compound, between two and three V. a. sornaensis were observed; it is not known if they belong to the clan which was encountered during the following weeks. With the alpha male wounded during a conflict with an Iguanodon herd, the clan lost its main power structure.

During the last few days of this prolonged incident, a smaller V. a. sornaensis pride was encountered by the stranded rescue team organized by the Kirby family; the pride consisted of at least four adult males and two adult females. Six nests were present in the forest near the Compound; one nest held thirteen eggs, four nests had twelve each, and one nest contained ten eggs. Two eggs were removed by human activity during the incident; it is not known whether they survived being outside of their nest for the day-long period that followed. Whether or not they survived, they were retrieved by the alpha female of the pride and returned to their nesting site.

The existence of V. a. sornaensis may have been publicly known prior to the Eric Kirby affair, due to the fact that Dr. Alan Grant was aware enough of their physical appearance to have a dream about one prior to his arrival on Isla Sorna during the incident.

According to the junior novel Prey (which is subject to canon review by Universal Studios at any time), five juvenile V. a. sornaensis inhabited Mount Hood as of December 30, 2001. Others may have existed in that same area, but the subspecies is not actually confirmed.

Known (red) and hypothetical (purple) range of V. a. sornaensis on Isla Sorna as of July 19, 2001. Hypothetical range includes potentially unreliable data from Eric Kirby’s accounts, as well as the range traversed by a division of the EALC pride on July 19 in pursuit of their stolen eggs.

Between 2002 and 2004, numerous animals were shipped between Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna while Jurassic World was constructed. It has been suggested that Velociraptor was among these, as none were present on Isla Nublar as of September 2004. If this did occur, some new V. a. nublarensis would have been introduced to Isla Sorna.

During 2004 an ecological collapse affected Isla Sorna due to numerous animals bred illegally on the island by InGen under Masrani Global Corporation. This was exacerbated by poaching; while it is not known if any raptors were poached, reports of disturbing injuries in Central America following the poaching implies that some may have been removed from the island. Beginning in September, Masrani Global Corporation began retrieving Velociraptors from Isla Sorna following similar operations for the other animals. They were transported to Isla Nublar; supposedly, none remain on Isla Sorna today.

Other

The “choose-your-own-adventure” book for The Lost World: Jurassic Park states that Peter Ludlow had brought a single V. antirrhopus specimen to Jurassic Park: San Diego prior to the actual expedition, and that it escaped captivity; however, it is extremely unlikely that this occurred in the film canon.

Velociraptors may have been brought to Central America due to poaching in the Muertes Archipelago, but this is unconfirmed. The only evidence consists of reports of disturbing injuries appearing to be the result of animal attacks in Central America.

In 2016, several months after the incident at Jurassic World, a group of Velociraptor (either V. a. nublarensis or V. a. masranii) were still being held at an InGen Security facility in Chile for continued IBRIS research.

“Blue,” a female V. a. masranii, was removed from Isla Nublar on June 23, 2018 at the behest of Henry Wu. She was held at the Lockwood estate near Orick, California during the night of June 24, escaping due to the efforts of Dinosaur Protection Group paleoveterinarian and animal rights activist Zia Rodriguez. Blue left the estate shortly thereafter and was last seen near what appears to be Simi Valley, California. This would indicate that she migrated approximately 685 miles southeast following June 24.

Behavior and Ecology
Daily Activity

The eye morphology of each subspecies is believed to be related to their activity patterns. The round pupils and overall small eyes of V. a. sornaensis implies a diurnal lifestyle, which appears to be the case; all currently known hunting, feeding, socializing, and patrolling has been overwhelmingly observed during the day. According to the junior novel Survivor, nighttime activity mainly consists of resting and patrolling territory. Some unconfirmed hunting activity near Mount Hood (portrayed in Prey) may have been this subspecies, but as the animals were not physically observed, this cannot be verified. The same junior novel does, however, depict several juvenile V. a. sornaensis hunting at night.

Female (left) and male (right) V. a. sornaensis. Note the smaller eyes and round pupils, similar to those in diurnal birds; this implies a diurnal habit.

Both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. masranii have vertical slit pupils which resemble those of some reptiles and nocturnal mammals such as cats. This implies a nocturnal lifestyle; unfortunately, natural behavior in the wild has only been observed in V. a. nublarensis one time, though this was at night. A possible occurrence in the junior novel Prey describes a hunting behavior similar to that observed during the night of May 24, 1997; this also occurred at night, but the animals were not directly observed as they remained concealed. As of such, the subspecies cannot be verified, and furthermore, the junior novel accounts may be unreliable. V. a. nublarensis does not have any difficulty operating during the day, however, and has been shown to hunt at twilight and shortly after nightfall as well.

V. a. masranii is clearly comfortable at night, and has advanced night vision. The second-eldest member of the four, named “Delta,” is even modified with structural genes from an undisclosed species of gecko to increase her ability to see in low-light conditions. The eldest raptor, “Blue,” is equally comfortable acting during the day and at night; she has been observed being active at all times of the day, suggesting that she has adopted a cathermal lifestyle. This may be an adaptation to her involuntary solitude, following the deaths of her packmates.

In the mobile game Jurassic Park Builder, the Velociraptors (resembling V. a. nublarensis) are shown to be active for thirty-minute intervals. In the sequel, Jurassic World: The Game, the raptors (still resembling V. a. nublarensis rather than the new V. a. masranii) are depicted as being active for two-hour periods instead.

Diet and Feeding Behavior

As with most of its relatives, the Velociraptor is a carnivore, and well-equipped for hunting live prey items. It is even capable of taking down animals larger than itself by using complex hunting techniques and strategic planning. While even a solitary raptor is a highly capable predator, they are at their most formidable when operating in pairs or groups. Their complex communication, which some scientists such as Dr. Alan Grant consider to be a language, allows them to formulate strategies to outmaneuver their prey and take it down efficiently. The methods by which all three raptor subspecies lay traps for their prey are highly varied, and it is likely that each individual pride has a unique type of strategy it uses. According to animal behaviorist Owen Grady, raptors typically scent out their prey and corral it into what he terms a “kill zone,” where the animals surround the prey item before closing in. The immense speed of the raptors also permits them to partake in simple pursuit hunting, which has been observed in all three subspecies.

Ambush techniques have been observed in all three subspecies. Like all raptor hunting strategies, the technique varies by pride. For example, the V. a. nublarensis pride led by “The Big One” in 1993 is known to have killed park warden Robert Muldoon by ambush. Raptors “Randy” and “Kim” lured him into a heavily forested area, with one raptor acting as bait by behaving as though it did not know Muldoon was there; meanwhile, the second raptor maneuvered to his side, ambushing him while he was distracted. A pride of V. a. sornaensis displayed even more advanced ambush techniques in 2001, appearing to understand human behavior to a degree that allowed them to be manipulative. A male of this pride hid behind an empty incubation tank in the EALC, leaving only his head visible; it has been suggested that he was attempting to mimic one of the embryos preserved in the tanks. A male and female pair later wounded a member of the failed rescue mission, using him as bait to lure sympathetic humans out of hiding. When it is unnecessary to use complicated ambush strategies, all three subspecies have been observed using simple ambush by taking advantage of their environment; dense foliage and tall grass make for excellent cover that the raptors will hide in before leaping out at their prey.

A male (left) and female (right) V. a. nublarensis attempt to dig underneath a door to access prey, Isla Sorna (5/24/1997)

When their prey is vulnerable, the raptors will make a final dash toward the victim and leap onto it. They typically splay their long arms to the sides while dashing and leaping, most likely to reduce the chances of the prey escaping to the side. While scientists historically believed that the raptorial claws on the second toes were used to slash at prey and create large lacerations, both behavioral studies on InGen’s raptors and fossil evidence related to the prehistoric versions have since confirmed that the toe claws are not used for slashing, but for gripping. The sharp tip of the claw punctures the flesh of the prey and holds fast; it lacks serrations and so cannot cut, but its hooked shape makes it difficult for the prey to shake off. The raptor also uses the lengthy claws of its fingers to attack while gripping with its feet; the claws of the fingers can be used to make shallow slashing wounds. The real killing implements, however, are its fifty or so sharp, backward-curving teeth. Between stabbing with its toe claws, slashing with its hands, and gnawing with its jaws, a raptor can bring its prey to a swift death by shock and blood loss. In many cases, though, raptors appear to enjoy the adrenaline rush of the kill and so do not want to finish it so quickly, and may prolong the victim’s suffering as a result.

The diet of these animals is highly varied; according to the InGen IntraNet website, they will eat the meat of nearly any animal but prefer fresh kill. The game Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis states that their favored prey is small mammals, and humans are certainly within the size range of their potential prey. This has caused an abnormally large number of human fatalities. Mammalian prey has also been confirmed to include the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus), and cattle (Bos taurus), though Isla Nublar historically had a stable goat population which may have fed wild raptors on the island. In captivity, V. a. masranii was typically fed prepared food, including dead white rats and beef jerky.

Dinosaurian prey is also varied. V. a. nublarensis have been confirmed to prey on Parasaurolophus, and deleted components of The Lost World: Jurassic Park indicate that Corythosaurus would also be a prey item (it is not known if any of this species existed prior to 1998 or 1999). The junior novel Prey features raptors killing a juvenile Edmontosaurus. They have not been shown to feed on this species in the films, but it is confirmed to have existed on Isla Sorna in the film canon. According to Simon Masrani, raptors will also prey on Gallimimus.

The junior novel Survivor portrays V. a. sornaensis possibly killing a sickly female Tyrannosaurus rex using a large, coordinated assault, but most raptor hunts involve smaller numbers of animals and would likely fare much worse (Velociraptors were shown to be capable of killing a healthy, mature Spinosaurus in the original Jurassic Park /// script, but this highly improbable scene was cut from the final film). In the same book, a complex herding-and-slaughtering behavior was portrayed; a large group of V. a. sornaensis herded a population of Iguanodon into a valley, periodically singling out an individual and killing it for food. They prevented the herbivores from leaving to maintain a source of food close by; the practice, however, was unsustainable, and would have eventually led to the herbivores’ starvation had Eric Kirby not intervened.

Both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. masranii have been shown to scavenge as well as hunt. The carcasses of at least two adult sauropods, identified in supplementary material as Apatosaurus, can be seen near the Workers’ Village where a pride of V. a. nublarensis is known to have lived. The immense size of such animals makes it unlikely that the raptors brought them down, and it is more likely that the raptors scavenged the carcasses. An abnormally large Stegosaurus found near V. a. masranii Blue’s nest on Isla Nublar also showed signs of recent scavenging, but it is highly unlikely that a lone raptor could kill such an animal (indeed, it shows no signs of raptor-induced injury), and it is more likely that it died of health complications owing to its abnormally large size.

The virtual reality short film Jurassic World: Blue portrays Blue unsuccessfully attempting to prey on a juvenile Triceratops which had wandered away from its own kind, and later attempting to steal eggs from a Baryonyx nest.

After making a kill, V. a. nublarensis may drag its prey to a suitable sheltered location to eat. This behavior has not been confirmed in the other two subspecies. When eating from a carcass, they typically feed from the flank areas first.

Social Behavior

Velociraptor antirrhopus has among the most advanced social structure of any dinosaur, owing to its high capacity for intelligence. Communities of raptors are called prides, but are sometimes referred to as packs or clans. Stable prides have been recorded with as few as three and as many as nineteen animals. According to Jurassic World: Evolution, the ideal size for a V. a. masranii pride is two to six animals, which is smaller than naturally-occurring prides of other subspecies. At times, raptors may travel away from their prides, wandering solitarily or in pairs, but nearly always return to the company of others of their kind. In nearly every observed pride, a single dominant leader emerges and becomes an authority figure at the top of the pride hierarchy. Usually referred to as the alpha raptor, this individual’s power comes from superior size, strength, intelligence, and hunting ability. Currently known raptor prides, in order of chronological appearance, are as follows:

  • Primary Isla Nublar Pride (V. a. nublarensis): Originally 8 animals; violent power restructuring reduced it to 3. Alpha raptor referred to as “The Big One” by Robert Muldoon. Subordinates named “Randy” and “Kim” unofficially. Randy appeared to be dominant over Kim. Sexes of these animals are unknown due to the fact that at least one had transitioned into a male through protogyny. All three died in the 1993 Isla Nublar incident. The pride had laid 8 eggs prior to their relocation, all of which hatched on June 11 or June 12; most or all of these infants had died by October 1994.
  • Secondary Isla Nublar Pride (V. a. nublarensis): 5 animals, all presumed to be female as no breeding occurred. Alpha raptor is unnamed, but can be identified by a large scar on its face. Two died during the 1993 Isla Nublar incident; the fates of the remaining three are not known. All raptors on Isla Nublar, save a single V. a. masranii, had died out by 2015.
  • Workers’ Village Pride (V. a. nublarensis): At least 10 animals, including both males and females. Alpha raptor is currently not known. The fates of these raptors has not been disclosed, but any survivors as of 2004 would have been relocated to Isla Nublar, where they eventually died out.
  • Southwest Sorna Pride (V. a. sornaensis): At least 19 animals. Alpha raptor was a male named “Red Rings” by Eric Kirby due to his distinctive coloration. Only evidence for this pride comes from the junior novel Survivor. One member of the pride died in late May or early June 2001 during a hunt. Red Rings was eventually wounded by Eric, leading to his subordinates no longer recognizing his authority and resulting in the dissolution of the pride. Any survivors as of 2004 would have been relocated to Isla Nublar, where they eventually died out.
  • EALC Pride (V. a. sornaensis): At least 6 animals, including four males and two females, observed in June 2001. Alpha raptor was an unnamed female. It is not known if she shared power with any of the males, though she did appear to favor one. Pride had laid eggs in May or June of 2001, including five nests with between 10 and 13 eggs each. Two eggs may have died during the incident. These animals are most likely from the dissolved Southwest Sorna Pride. Any survivors as of 2004 would have been relocated to Isla Nublar, where they eventually died out.
  • Mount Hood Pride (V. a. sornaensis): At least 5 subadults, observed in December 2001. Alpha raptor is currently not known, and due to the young age of the animals this authority may not yet have been established. Only evidence for this pride comes from the junior novel Prey. These animals are most likely offspring of the former members of the dissolved Southwest Sorna Pride. Any survivors as of 2004 would have been relocated to Isla Nublar, where they eventually died out.
  • Sector 5 Pride or Prides (V. a. nublarensis and V. a. sornaensis): Survivors from Isla Sorna transported to Isla Nublar. Very little information has been disclosed. Still in existence as of the publication of the Jurassic World Employee Handbook, but none remained by 2014 or 2015.
  • Raptor Response Team (V. a. masranii): 4 females, created in 2012 on Isla Nublar. Until they neared adulthood, all four recognized animal behaviorist Owen Grady as the alpha; the “beta” raptor Blue began to challenge him for authority as she matured, having fought her packmate Echo for authority previously. Charlie was considered second in command to Blue, followed by Delta and Echo as the subordinates. Briefly, they recognized an Indominus rex as their alpha, but rejected it within an hour. All but Blue died after being released from their paddock on December 18, 2015; Blue was eventually removed from Isla Nublar on June 23, 2018.
  • Desert Raptor Pride (V. a. nublarensis or V. a. masranii): Animals maintained at a Chilean InGen Security facility for IBRIS research and development between 2012 and 2016. Further details pending.

While most raptor prides are highly coordinated, they are not without internal conflict. Squabbles for authority positions have been documented in both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. masranii, often becoming violent and occasionally fatal. Internal conflict has thus far not been observed in V. a. sornaensis. In most cases, though, raptors will defer to the authority of their alpha. In V. a. masranii, authority positions are formed at a very early age and may persist into adulthood. Authority is reinforced by snapping and hissing by the dominant animal. In most cases, the alpha raptor is a female, even when males outnumber females.

A show of submission (right) given by a V. a. nublarensis, Isla Nublar (6/12/1993)

Bonds between Velociraptors of the same pride are incredibly strong. In both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. masranii, animals will have a violent emotional reaction if their packmates are killed; on at least two occasions, raptors have been documented attacking much larger animals in retaliation for the deaths of their packmates.

Raptors are also capable of communicating information highly efficiently. For example, when V. a. nublarensis Randy discovered how to operate door handles, Kim was able to replicate this behavior a few minutes later. The simple puzzle of door-opening has actually been solved by V. a. nublarensis on two other occasions; once by The Big One in order to escape Jurassic Park’s maintenance shed, and once by an unnamed raptor to enter the maintenance and service tunnels. Collective IQ in this species is surprisingly high, as documented by Dr. Henry Wu and Robert Muldoon on February 13, 1992. This collective intelligence is achieved through a three-step process of cognition (raptors form an understanding of their environment), cooperation (raptors are able to act as a cohesive unit), and coordination (raptors are able to collectively focus on a single goal). This process appears to be most advanced in V. a. sornaensis, but is also possible in the less-studied V. a. nublarensis.

Alpha female V. a. sornaensis displaying non-violent dominance behavior in a confrontation, Isla Sorna (6/19/2001)

In V. a. sornaensis, a kind of division of labor appears to exist in prides. The EALC-based pride consisted of a dominant female, who did not engage in combat but instead issued commands to the other raptors. She also confronted the only female member of a rival “pride” of humans which had stolen her eggs, suggesting that she would also engage in disputes with the alphas of rival prides. The confrontation was nonviolent, however, consisting mostly of eye contact and physical touching of the head using her snout. The males of the pride were observed engaging in hunting and combat behavior, suggesting that they are tasked with protecting the territory from outside and obtaining food for the pride. The only other female, presumed to be a subordinate, was never seen alongside the alpha female; when the males joined the alpha female to confront Dr. Alan Grant, the second female was absent. She was also absent during the final confrontation with the humans. This suggests that she was primarily tasked with defending the territory from within, and likely guarding the nests once the pride knew a threat to their eggs was present. The pride recorded in Survivor also had a division of labor, with the alpha male leading the pack during hunting activity while his subordinates assumed either defensive or offensive roles in the hunt.

So far, no association between raptors of differing subspecies has been observed, though they would certainly have coexisted on Isla Nublar following the 2004 evacuation of Isla Sorna. The only example of association of different subspecies comes from the mobile game Jurassic World: The Game, in which the raptor response team briefly joins a pride of wild raptors in Sector 5. However, the two subspecies eventually engaged in nonlethal combat with one another over whether they should kill a group of humans. This incident is not film-canon, as animal trainer Barry Sembène explicitly stated on December 18, 2015 that the raptors have never been out of containment at that point in time.

Reproduction

Both V. a. nublarensis and V. a. sornaensis have been documented breeding in the wild (this has not been observed in V. a. masranii due to a lack of male animals). While these observations are not abundant, they do provide much valuable data.

Cloaca of a V. a. nublarensis

Courtship and mating behaviors are unknown at this time, but it is known that the Velociraptor possesses a cloaca which houses the reproductive organs. Between eight and thirteen white, ovular eggs are laid in shallow nests; V. a. nublarensis has been documented nesting between the buttress roots of a Moreton Bay fig, while V. a. sornaensis appears to prefer heavily-forested nesting sites near sources of running water. In at least V. a. sornaensis, eggs are laid sometime before June. The incubation period is unknown, but the lack of cover over the nests indicates that the raptors brood their eggs much like modern birds. The eggs are arranged in upright positions in roughly circular patterns. Raptors are highly defensive of their nests, with V. a. sornaensis going to great lengths to retrieve any missing eggs. The existence of a nest may have contributed to the unusually aggressive behavior of Isla Nublar’s primary V. a. nublarensis pride in 1993.

Smaller dinosaurs generally have shorter incubation periods, lasting between three and six months.

When they are ready to hatch, infant raptors push through their eggshells using their snouts, making squealing and whining sounds to draw the adults’ attention. According to John Hammond, they imprint on the first animal they see. In at least V. a. nublarensis, the hatchlings are capable of walking and basic social cohesion almost immediately upon hatching. However, the raptors which hatched on June 11 or 12, 1993 were found by the 1994 InGen cleanup to have died, indicating that they do require parental care in order to survive. The adults protect and feed them until they can fend for themselves.

Empty nest of V. a. nublarensis found on Isla Nublar (6/12/1993). As a tropical storm had just passed, these tracks must be very fresh, indicating that the animals left the nest together almost immediately after hatching.

If no males exist in an environment, a chemical trigger can cause at least V. a. nublarensis to undergo a biological transformation. This process, called sequential hermaphroditism (specifically, it is protogyny), causes the female’s reproductive organs to disintegrate and become replaced by male reproductive organs. This permits the former female to breed as a male. The reverse of this process, called protandry, would not be possible; this is because the genes which code for this process come from Hyperolius viridiflavus, which can exhibit protogyny but not protandry. Such a transition has only been observed on one occasion on Isla Nublar, and has not been observed in either of the other raptor subspecies.

While only a single V. a. nublarensis nest has been observed, belonging to a pride of formerly eight raptors (reduced to three at some point before June 1993), a pride of at least six V. a. sornaensis was found to have five nests each with large numbers of eggs. As there were only two confirmed females in this pride, versus four males, polygamous behavior is almost certain in this subspecies. The raptors are most likely polyandrous (females mating with multiple males), but the presence of five nests versus four males means that it is highly likely that polygynous behavior (a male mating with multiple females) is also practiced. It is also possible, but unconfirmed, that some of the females may have mated with males belonging to other prides and returned to their own pride to lay their eggs.

Nest of V. a. sornaensis

Maturity in raptors is reached extraordinarily quickly. According to Robert Muldoon, they are capable of killing live prey within eight weeks of hatching; his statements imply that human-sized prey could be killed by an eight-week-old raptor.

Vocalizations

Communication among V. antirrhopus is perhaps the most complex of any dinosaur. It has been suggested by some scientists that they have a coherent language. Most of their known vocalizations are used to coordinate behavior, particularly during searching and hunting activity. During hunts and attacks, raptors use multiple different types of vocalizations to announce their actions to other members of the pride, ensuring that each hunter knows what the others are doing. Vocalizations are mostly used when prey is unable to escape easily or has already detected the raptors’ presence; while setting up an ambush in the open, the raptors are silent and rely mostly on body language.

Other vocalizations are used for various kinds of communication. At least V. a. sornaensis appears to be able to communicate information regarding specific items in the environment, which Dr. Alan Grant observed in 2001 while a pride of raptors was searching for stolen eggs. To get the attention of their packmates, a raptor will use a loud barking vocalization, essentially an equivalent of the human “hey!” This is different from the hollow-sounding help cry documented only in V. a. sornaensis, which is only used when a raptor needs backup from its packmates.

A tooth-showing snarl like this is usually displayed in anticipation of feeding, or when excited by the possibility of impending action.

Dominance among raptors of all subspecies is asserted by snapping and hissing. Raptors can also be heard vocalizing while alone, with these sounds indicating emotions such as frustration, anger, or satisfaction.

Non-vocal communication among raptors is also well-established. Eye contact may be used to coordinate during hunts, or to establish dominance. Rapid whipping of the tail or baring of the teeth can indicate excitement, and jaw-gaping is used to show aggression. Raptors can also communicate by tapping their raptorial toe claws on the ground; this can be used to coordinate during stalking of prey, but has also been observed during active pursuit to deliver commands to subordinates. Animal behaviorist Owen Grady used a clicker device to give commands to the raptor response team at Jurassic World, indicating that the clicking sound made by toe-tapping may have other communicative uses.

Ecological Interactions

While Velociraptors are predominantly observed while interacting with humans, we do have some information about their behavior in the wild. As active hunters, they assist in controlling prey animal populations. In particular, they are known to prey on the invasive brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), which would benefit Isla Nublar’s ecosystem. They also prey on cattle (Bos taurus), another artificially-introduced mammal on the island. Raptors also hunt Gallimimus and hadrosaurs such as Parasaurolophus and Edmontosaurus, as well as possibly Iguanodon (if this species exists in the film canon) and juveniles of animals such as Triceratops, which would reduce browsing and grazing pressure on the plant life of the environment. They may steal eggs from animals such as Baryonyx; this would help to control the carnivore population. Raptors are also scavengers, meaning that they act to clean up carcasses in the environment which would otherwise become a source of disease.

On such tiny islands as Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, raptors frequently come into conflict with other carnivores in competition for food. The much more enormous Tyrannosaurus, for example, is a frequent competitor; its kleptoparasitic tendencies mean that it willingly steals food that raptors have killed. It may also prey on raptors, though the sharp claws and agility of the raptor make it a potentially dangerous food item. According to Eric Kirby’s account in Survivor, a large enough pride of raptors can overpower and kill an unhealthy tyrannosaur. Raptors also compete for food with Pteranodon, which inhabit similar territory on Isla Nublar, and may come into conflict with parent dinosaurs protecting their eggs, such as Baryonyx. Raptors will back down from Troodon pectinodon territory.

Raptors appear to coexist with Compsognathus without much issue, though these tiny carnivores are also a potential food item. Several appeared to inhabit Blue’s nest in 2018, but they did flee at her approach. A brief symbiotic relationship was struck up between four V. a. masranii and a subadult Indominus rex on December 18, 2015 due to the two species’ similar intelligence and communication techniques, but the relationship ended violently when raptor Blue showed the first sign of defiance of the larger animal’s authority.

On Isla Sorna, raptor territories are known to overlap with those of Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus, Spinosaurus, and some of the aforementioned species. Any further relationships between the animals are not known, though unused concepts from Jurassic Park /// would have featured a violent conflict between Velociraptor and Spinosaurus. Another alleged deleted scene would have several raptors combat an Ankylosaurus, but there is no evidence that this scene ever existed.

In the game Jurassic World: Evolution, Velociraptors do not prefer to share territory with many other animals. They are also susceptible to hookworm infection. Additionally, their prehistoric ancestors were host to blood-drinking parasites such as mosquitoes; it is not known if the modern versions are affected by hematophagous insects in the same way.

The Dinosaur Protection Group used imagery of a Velociraptor to illustrate the threat that rabies could potentially pose to carnivorous dinosaurs, but there is no evidence that the rabies virus (Rabies lyssavirus) can infect any dinosaur. This is exclusively a mammalian disease. According to the game Jurassic World: Evolution, genetic manipulation has resulted in the dinosaurs becoming somehow susceptible to rabies.

Interactions with Humans

Like Tyrannosaurus, the overwhelming popularity of Velociraptor has led to its frequent exploitation by humans. Thus, most of the raptor-human interactions throughout the history of de-extinction have been negative for both parties. Robert Muldoon, park warden of the Jurassic Park project from its foundation until his death on June 12, 1993, asserted that the raptors should all be euthanized. This was following an incident in early June of that year in which an InGen employee was mauled to death by a raptor during a relocation of the animals. Issues involving raptors in the original park went even further back; an abnormally violent animal took control of the pride on the island following her introduction, killing all but two of the others and leading them in coordinated attacks on the electric fencing whenever the feeders came to the paddock. Muldoon believed that, due to the fact that they never attacked the same place twice, they were testing the fences for weak points. This concerning behavior was the motive for the raptors’ June relocation, and subsequently the death of InGen worker Jophrey Brown; in turn, this brought the Jurassic Park project to a halt and necessitated the now-historic endorsement tour. In effect, Velociraptors had a large role in causing the 1993 Isla Nublar incident. On the night of May 24, 1997, a pride of raptors also caused heavy casualties to Peter Ludlow’s expedition to Isla Sorna. These raptors were not behaving in an unusually aggressive way, but appeared to be engaging in normal hunting behavior.

Male V. a. sornaensis kills mercenary Udesky, Isla Sorna (6/19/2001). Previously, the raptors had broken the man’s spine to use him as bait; when the trap did not succeed, this male raptor broke the man’s neck seemingly out of spite. This demonstrates the capacity to hold a grudge and to kill for reasons outside of predation or self-defense.

Both V. a. sornaensis and V. a. masranii appear to understand human emotion to some degree, with now-famous V. a. masranii Blue demonstrating empathy toward humans. In 2001, V. a. sornaensis used their understanding of humanlike intelligence to manipulate humans into traps, playing on both human curiosity and altruism.

InGen Security has made attempts to use the predatory nature, intelligence, and athleticism of the Velociraptor to their advantage, with the suggestion by Head of Security Vic Hoskins that they could potentially replace remotely-operated or autonomous drones in military organizations. This is also mentioned in the InGen IntraNet website circa 1997, though then-Vice President of Security Jim Boutcher stated that John Hammond did not approve. According to this website, raptors had a low tourism appeal and Boutcher was covertly searching for a way to exterminate them. Previously, according to this website, the raptors had been considered as a food source for the tyrannosaur, but this was also deemed highly unfeasible. In the park, the raptor enclosure would not have been visible from the tour road, but instead from the Jungle River Cruise.

In spite of the issues caused by raptors in the original Park, Simon Masrani intended to utilize the animals in Jurassic World. The animals’ collective intelligence forced them to ship raptors one at a time, preventing them from making coordinated attacks during transport; the first such raptor was delivered to the quarantine paddock in September 2004. Despite the establishment of reasonable security measures, an incident occurred which resulted in the death of a Bright Minds intern and the subsequent euthanizing of the raptor involved.

In 2012, InGen Security initiated the Integrated Behavioral Raptor Intelligence Study (IBRIS) Project, approved by Simon Masrani. The project had been in the planning stages for over a decade; as of September 2004, the raptors were slated for special projects that the lead herbivore caretaker at the time did not have clearance to view. Led by Vic Hoskins, the project was officially intended to study the raptors’ intelligence to integrate them into Jurassic World. Hoskins also intended to determine if they could be applied as military animals, in the way that animals such as dogs are already used. Backed by Eli Mills of the Lockwood foundation, the project tested at least V. a. nublarensis before conceding that these animals were too aggressive and unpredictable. This led to the creation of V. a. masranii by Dr. Wu, a more docile subspecies which would be raised by ex-Navy animal behaviorist Owen Grady. Four specimens survived, but as they aged, they became more aggressive and challenged Grady’s authority on many occasions. They even attempted to kill Grady directly during an incident on December 18, 2015; later on the same day, Hoskins forced a field test of the raptors, which ended disastrously with the raptors turning on their handlers at the first opportunity.

Poster featuring Blue released by the Dinosaur Protection Group.

While Grady did succeed in turning the raptors back to his authority, the deaths of all but one of the specimens during the incident essentially ended the IBRIS Project (a clandestine branch of the operation would persist in Chile for several more months). The sole survivor, Blue, was allowed to roam Isla Nublar freely while the park was closed down and evacuated. During the Dinosaur Protection Group‘s campaign to save Isla Nublar’s dinosaurs, imagery of Blue was frequently used to attempt to garner support.

She would be the target of exploitation again in 2018, as Henry Wu (now directly under Eli Mills’s supervision) required her as a behavioral specimen for his Indoraptor project. Grady was tasked with retrieving her; on June 24, 2018, Blue was held captive at Benjamin Lockwood’s estate after suffering abuse at the hands of mercenaries hired by Mills. After being freed, she sought out Grady; after a violent fight with the escaped Indoraptor, she left into the wild despite his attempts to bring her back.

DNA from Velociraptor antirrhopus was utilized in the construction of the hybrid genome for Indominus rex owing to the raptors’ greater intelligence. The hybrid genome for Indoraptor was created in part by increasing the proportion of V. antirrhopus DNA in the Indominus genome.

Based on Jurassic World: Evolution, the cost of raising a Velociraptor from fertilization to maturity as of 2018 would be $373,000.

Behind the Scenes

The names of the raptors “Randy” and “Kim” are derived from their respective animators, Randal Dutra and Kimberly Blanchette, and were not names assigned to the actual raptors by anyone associated with the film. They are maintained here for the sake of convenience.

At one point, V. a. nublarensis was going to be featured in Jurassic Park /// before being replaced by a visually distinct animal. Likewise, V. a. sornaensis was going to be featured in Jurassic World at one point, before being briefly replaced by fully-feathered animals and eventually the animals seen in the final film, which were intended to hark back to the original film’s raptors.

The decision to not represent accurately-feathered raptors in Jurassic World was most likely the driving force behind paleontologist Dr. Brian Switek cutting ties with Universal Studios and becoming a vehement opponent of the new additions to the Jurassic franchise. This sentiment has become widespread in the paleontological community. According to some insiders, Dr. Switek illustrated a feathered Velociraptor for the Jurassic World website, but producer Steven Spielberg encouraged director Colin Trevorrow not to use the new, updated and accurate design. Trevorrow, of course, has been given the brunt of blame for not making Jurassic World dinosaurs completely accurate to modern paleontological knowledge and favoring continuity instead.