Velociraptor “antirrhopus” (*) (S/F)

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)

Though famous as a man-sized, walking medieval torture device, Velociraptor was actually much smaller than those featured in Jurassic Park; the ones seen in the film are closer in size to Deinonychus, a related species. Deinonychus (“terrible claw”) was discovered by paleontology revolutionary John Ostrom in 1964, and described by him in 1969; Gregory S. Paul also described it in 1988 but renamed it as Velociraptor “antirrhopus” for his book. In contrast, the Velociraptors of Jurassic Park measure in at approximately 1.8 m (6 ft) in height, 4 m (13 ft) in length, weigh between 150 and 350 pounds, and hold a homeothermic body temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit. They lived during the early Cretaceous, about 118 to 110 million years ago.

Velociraptor “antirrhopus” nublarensis is found on both Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, the Velociraptor–or “raptor,” as they are commonly called–are Jurassic Park’s most intellectually advanced dinosaurs, hunting in packs like wolves and communicating with different vocalizations and mostly non-verbal communication for efficient hunting tactics, though are speculated by most to have less complex thought capabilities; an example of this is when the raptors seem to be driven more by the kill than the hunt, losing all sense and attacking even in hopeless situations, as seen with the males on Isla Sorna in 1997. The females, in contrast, seem to adapt more easily and are not as impulsive to the hunting situations in which the opposite sex find themselves, such as when the pack on Isla Nublar set a trap for Robert Muldoon during the Isla Nublar Incident in 1993.

There is also a second breed of Velociraptor, which is found only on Isla Sorna at present. It is widely believed that these evolved from the previously described Raptors above. Out of universe, the effects crew of Stan Winston – and in-particular, John Rosengrant, have insisted their designs for the Raptors had evolved from their original designs used in the first two films. In a lot of ways this is true, the design did evolve between films, but insofar as a canonical explanation it is horribly satisfying and ultimately lacking due to the suspension of disbelief required for it in addition to the conflicting evidence in-universe adapted directly from the source material itself that is shown instead of told. Taking a step back, out of universe here, we need to realize that the third film was trying to do a subtle refresh and help JP reinvent itself to up the stakes. So the “evolution” was more down to marketing and that is chalked up into a departure from the previous two films format and even the animal designs itself.

Another problem with the Raptors evolving belief that the Raptors evolved between films. That shows a serious fundamental lack of understanding of science and the mechanism of natural selection that the films themselves are bounded. While the films are science-fiction and part of the action/adventure genre it stretches the limits of plausibility and believability in saying the Raptors evolved so much and differently from events in 1997 to events in 2001. Recent information from the Dinosaur Protection Group website seems to suggest InGen was active for a brief point on the island when the general public belief was the island was abandoned. This could imply an “artificial” evolution, but the way John Rosengrant suggests it is that one breed disappeared only to be replaced by another in the four years between the second and third films. To make matters more muddy is that the Raptor in Alan Grant’s dream sequence on the Kirby’s plane was of the male design but otherwise greyed out to be similar to the Raptors from the first film as revealed in the commentary track for the third movie, but an otherwise safer assumption could be is that this is how Grant pictured male Raptors looking at the time as he wouldn’t know the tiger design seen in the second movie. When it came to the Jurassic World movie a much-needed scene was adapted from the source material was between when Masrani and Wu are talking about how nothing in Jurassic World is natural.

Then we have the animal differences. There’s a lot of stark differences between the Nublarensis (JP/TLW) and Sornaensis (JP3) breeds. Some of the differences of the Raptors can be taken from mostly their physical appearance and one of those would be their eyes. The Raptors in the third film are more diurnal versus nocturnal of the species from the previous two sequels, coupled with their skull ornamentation being more profound, and lastly their coloration differences alone go simply beyond a hyper mutation or evolution of the species to make them one in the same. So what are we left with? The more plausible explanation was adapted from the original source material and applied to the films with version numbers very subtly through visual reference between the numbered vials seen on the embryos in the first film to the aborted and experimented fetuses of dinosaurs seen in the Embryonics Administration in the third film. It is therefore not a stretch to believe that the Raptors witnessed in the third film are a different version number or rather a different mutation batch altogether created by InGen as a perfect park inhabitant and denzien to be integrated. From a logistical stand-pointing versioning is more inclined to explain the animal changes given the fact it would require a constant need of refinement to bring about the “ideal specimen” for InGen’s purposes and ends.

Known as Velociraptor “antirrhopus sornaensis,” they appear to be more vocal than V. “a. nublarensis;” while both make the same noises as they are more or less the same animal, V. sornaensis is more vocal while hunting. They use their communicative abilities to aid and enhance their hunting capabilities, not only to stalk prey but also to, terrifyingly, use the human condition of empathy against their quarry. They can set traps and are masterful of it coupled with the already present abilities of the previous being. Males of V. sornaensis are shown to have slightly more impulsive behavior on only one occasion, when a male specimen broke rank–but was quickly brought back into order–during the ambush on Dr. Grant and the Kirby’s right before they were rescued by the US military in 2001.

The scientific classification, Velociraptor “antirrhopus,” is a derivation of Deinonychus; the raptors bred by InGen were called Velociraptor due to old studies that came out before the 90s when InGen would be conducting a majority of their work. This was all thanks to Gregory S. Paul a prominent paleo-artist that Crichton based a lot of his work with the dinosaurs off of in the production of his Jurassic-series of books. Paul would also be consulted initially before the film project picked up steam to establish a “official” look for the animals. The studies referenced had grouped most dromaeosaurids into the genus Velociraptor, including Deinonychus. Science eventually reevaluated this classification and reassigned the species. However, in the Jurassic Park universe, the name stuck; this is really only an assumption, as Dr. Alan Grant was uncovering a “Velociraptor” in Montana, where the real Velociraptor did not exist but Deinonychus did. It is possible that Grant simply liked the name Velociraptor more than Deinonychus, and thus the classification was kept alive. A comparative size analysis shows us that Jurassic Park‘s raptors are closer in size to Deinonychus than they are to Utahraptor. The reality is that this classification came into being in Gregory Paul’s 1988 book, “Predatory Dinosaurs of The World;” its influence can be clearly felt within the Jurassic Park franchise, as to this day numerous publication make reference to the comparison of Deinonychus.

The classification of names we will refer to as for the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park will be known as Velociraptor “antirrhopus” nublarensis while the raptors seen in Jurassic Park /// will be referred to as Velociraptor “antirrhopus” sornaensis. The nublarensis/sornaensis comes from the fact that there are two distinct, morphologically different animals; their differences range from their pupils down to skeletal differences in their skulls, not to mention their stature and differing patterns of coloration. We simply do not know if these species would be able to interbreed and produce hybrid offspring, not unlike the hybrid offspring of lions and tigers (“ligers” and “tiglons”) of the real world, as there is presently nothing canonical to support it. We know that they are clearly different from one another due to a few reasons: first and foremost, the aforementioned versions numbers argument for that being present in the film canon and the physical appearance differences. It has also been suggested that there are behavioral differences between the two species, but this is speculative; based on evidence from the film, we cannot say with certainty that there is a major and drastic difference between the two. We can only outline the differences in this article; what we see is what we get, and what we see in the portrayal looks different from one another one another at times, but the same at once when we get down to the details.

The differences between the two species are not limited to their coloration and physical characteristics; it is possible that their levels of intelligence and their social structure are also different. However, this is a matter of debate that, unfortunately, requires a lot of speculation. While V. sornaensis work together in highly communicable packs with no intraspecific competition in their social structure, V. nublarensis engage in in-fighting, and higher-ranking members of the pack seem to regularly assert their dominance, as seen in both 1993 (one raptor nipping at another as they entered the kitchen) and in 1997 (when two raptors got into a scrap while trying to make a meal of Dr. Sarah Harding. It is likely that V. nublarensis still communicated with each other, though it was probably through more nonvocal means such as body language or similar.

Inferences point out that the social structure of V. sornaensis, from what is seen in the films, was largely obeyed by all raptors within the pack shown. However, when Dr. Alan Grant used a replica of a Velociraptor‘s resonating chamber, a single raptor broke rank, possibly confused by the sounds being made by Dr. Grant, but was reminded of its place immediately by the female raptor with the group. More importantly, the raptor was corrected without the use of violence, almost surely testament to the significance of pack hierarchy among this breed of raptor. Unlike with the V. nublarensis, no in-fighting whatsoever has ever been observed among the V. sornaensis. Though it is all but definitive that V. sornaensis were more vocal with each other, using a “language” to coordinate their attacks to a greater degree than the V. nublarensis, we cannot rule out that V. nublarensis had similar communicative abilities as little of them is seen.

Based on evidence in the film, speculation has arisen that V. sornaensis may understand human emotion and their environments at least to a greater degree than V. nublarensis does. These understandings stem from the fact that a lone male was sent to hunt Dr. Alan Grant and company in 2001, and used a former laboratory environment to its advantage, hiding behind a glass tank and remaining perfectly still in order to scare Amanda Kirby who was intensely curious. The Raptor knew of curiosity and preyed upon that emotion. This in and of itself implies that V. sornaensis has a greater understanding of human emotions and are adapted to respond to them. They also used their knowledge of humans to try to lure the group into a trap by leaving Udesky alive as bait, that is, until he had outlived his usefulness.

We also see this also used to a lesser extent with V. nublarensis; one of the Raptors in 1993 hid herself from view until Dr. Ellie Sattler had turned her back to it, distracted by her success at restoring power to the park. However, after this, V. nublarensis is only observed opening doors, smashing and digging through obstacles, and utilizing tall grass as cover. Otherwise, all that we see of V. nublarensis hunting patterns is when they hunted Robert Muldoon in the jungles of Isla Nublar; Alan, Ellie, Tim, and Lex in the Visitor Center at Jurassic Park; and even when hunting Ian, Sarah, Kelly, and the InGen Hunters on Isla Sorna. Though this does lend credibility to their complex hunting patterns, at least compared to other carnivorous dinosaurs in the films, they are not nearly as complex as the hunting behaviors displayed by V. sornaensis.

The statements of evolution made by the cast and crew of Jurassic Park /// could, in fact, apply under certain circumstances. However, by its very definition, evolution takes millions of years to happen, not the four that separated The Lost World from Jurassic Park ///; evolution was instead used as a marketing device, to portray the adventure evolving on down to the designs and technology to make the animatronics of the films evolving. Another issue present in the fandom is that it is believed by some that these animals were replacements for the older “Nublarensis” design. There is nothing to suggest that this has any real connection to the film aside from the obscure “evolution” statement, which is clearly an advertising point for the film, runs in conflict with the source material the series was adapted from, as well as stretches the believability and plausibility of the franchise.

On the subject of “the Big One” from Jurassic Park, there are four possible explanations as to her behavior and the differences that she displays from other specimens of V. nublarensis, though all of them are highly speculative: genetic mishap; too many growth enhancers (though suggested in the film, there is no actual evidence of growth enhancements in the film); that the animal developed a trait to “pass-on” (natural selection); or that she was just naturally more intelligent and aggressive than other specimens of V. nublarensis. It is also likely, based on Muldoon’s comments, that he may have been referring to both breeds of raptor, assuming that he knew about Isla Sorna.

Some might get the impression that V. nublarensis is being sold short; in fact, it is quite the opposite. The facts are that both are very intelligent and extremely dangerous; the difference is like that between a can of Coke and Diet Coke, or the difference between chimpanzees and humans.

Velociraptor “antirrhopus nublarensis”
velociraptor smallRaptor_male
Velociraptor “antirrhopus sornaensis”
Attack Reasoning & IntelligenceV.nublarensisWe know that V. nublarensis likely employed eye contact to eliminate Muldoon, and are known to be able to open doors in order to reach their intended target. Another ability seen was how they use their natural surrounds, such as the long grass, to their advantage while hunting. An individual in the first film hid from view in order to catch Dr. Ellie Sattler off-guard.
V.sornaensisV. sornaensis is capable of playing on complex human emotion and are excellent trackers. High logical ability here is present when using Udesky as bait and killing him after Billy Brennan and the Kirby’s had discovered their trap.
Pack FunctionalityV.nublarensisEvidence of brutality in V. nublarensis can be seen on Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, with specimens on both islands attacking each other to assert dominance or improve their place in the pecking order.
V. sornaensisAt present, there are no examples of interspecies brutality among V. sornaensis, aside from the female nonviolently correcting an out-of-order male during the ambush.
CommunicationV.nublarensisSome communication among V. nublarensis relies upon vocalizations, though it is rather simplified. Nonvocal communication was also seen used between two Raptors while they were stalking Tim and Lex Murphy in the Visitor Center kitchen on Isla Nublar. A specimen on Isla Nublar is seen calling for her hunting partner, but no “verbal” communication was involved while stalking Muldoon; this communication was probably relegated to body language. On Isla Sorna, the raptors in the long grass did not use vocalizations while hunting Ian, Sarah, and Kelly.
V.sornaensisV. sornaensis seems to rely more on vocalization, almost to the point of having a language, which may indicate some degree of sentience; the V. sornaensis are even seen “talking” to each other in Jurassic Park ///.

Jurassic World & Project I.B.R.I.S.

After Masrani acquired InGen in 1998 and subsequent surveying of InGen technology, Wu and his team got to work on improving the Velociraptor genome. Eventually Project IBRIS came to be and so did fruits of the labor with the newly modified Raptors: Blue, Echo, Charlie, and Delta. All four Raptors each having their own unique color scheme and genes. Owen Grady was responsible for attempting to train the Raptors while Vic Hoskins oversaw the project at Isla Nublar. The results were less than successful as they Owen’s Pack was put to the task of hunting the escaped hybrid, the Indominus rex, only for the Raptors to go rogue in the end when it was realized the hybrid used part of the Raptor’s DNA.


In-film appearance of Blue
Blue, of Owen’s pack.

In-film appearance of Charlie
Charlie, of Owen’s pack.

Delta, of Owen’s pack.

Echo, of Owen’s pack.