The two most famous dinosaurs, at least the predatory ones, are the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Velociraptor. This is due in no small part due to the continued success of the Jurassic Park and World series of movies. Although they were both furious apex predators there were some large differences between them which we take a look at below.
While both T-Rex and Velociraptor were theropod predatory dinosaurs there are significant differences between them. Most obviously size with T-Rex weighing up to 16,000 lbs and Velociraptor only 100 lbs. However, speed, location, pack hunting, feather covering and prey were all differences between the two.
We take a look in more detail at some of these differences, and similarities, in the article below and take a quick look at who would win in a fight between a T-Rex and Velociraptor, although the answer should not come as a surprise.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is a large theropod dinosaur that once roamed the lands of North America 70 to 66 million years ago. Reaching heights of 40 foot long weights of 17,000 lb and it could be 12 foot tall it was definitely one of the larger dinosaurs, predator or otherwise. We have more T Rex size information here on the site ( a lot more!)
The Tyrannosaurus Rex had a general lifespan of about 30 years. As the king of dinosaurs the T-Rex is said to have one of the strongest bites of all the dinosaurs between 8 and 12,000 lbs of force. It is also reported to have the longest teeth, upto 12 inch including the root
The Velociraptor is a small dromaeosaurid dinosaur. This dinosaur roamed the lands of Asia before about 75 million years ago. They had powerful back legs and long claws on the front allowing them to rip into their prey.
They reached a length of about 6 feet long and were one of the smaller dinosaurs that roamed the Earth. Unlike how they are portrayed in movies as 10 foot long scaly killing machines, they were actually feathered and more lightly built.
They have been reported to have a feather-like covering and that they were, as their name suggests they were fast animals, and their top speed has been estimated at 40 miles an hour over short distances. Not quite “cheetah speed” but pretty fast. They have serrated teeth for eating meat. Its snout was long, narrow and shallow, setting it apart from other dinosaurs of time.
The T-Rex and the Velociraptor had many similarities and many differences. They were both theropod dinosaurs, they are both extinct and both were carnivores. At the same time, one of them had a scale-like skin and the other had a thick skin with a feather-like covering, although scaled under.
Let’s dig a little deeper and see what other comparisons we can make.
Size: T-Rex Vs. Velociraptor
The T-Rex was a large dinosaur standing at almost 12 feet tall and 40 feet long. A very large dinosaur of its time. It was designed to hunt larger dinosaurs, ike triceratops, needed to be large and strong to tackle such large prey. Even if the new evidence that it may have hunted in family groups it would still need to be large to take on large dinosaurs.
The Velociraptor was much smaller in size, standing about 2-3 feet tall and only reaching about 6 feet long. Although it is thought to have hunted in packs or groups, and would have been able to bring down prey larger than itself if doing so, it was nowhere near big enough even in large numbers to tackle the type of prey a T Rex would.
Diet: T-Rex Vs. Velociraptor
While both these dinosaurs were carnivores, as we mentioned above they had different dies. The velociraptor would have fed mainly on small mammals, lizards and possibly even dinosaur eggs. If in a pack it could have tried larger prey, and in fact there is even fossilized evidence of a Velociraptor and a Protoceratops locked together in a fight to the death – called fighting dinosaurs.
The T-Rex hunted larger dinosaurs, being larger means it needed more food. It may have done this in packs, or even scavenge depending what research you read, but it would eat larger animals. It lived with hadrosaurs and triceratops and would have actively hunted these dinosaurs.
Skin: T-Rex Vs. Velociraptor
Both the T-Rex and Velociraptor were descended from a common archosaur ancestor, and had similar skin. However, as it common with larger animals ( their size allows them to regular heat and often don’t need to be as well insulated) the T-Rex may have had feathers but is unlikely to be as completely covered with them compared to the Velociraptor.
Velociraptor is now thought to be covered with feathers, to the extent it may have been able to use them to in hunting as well as for warmth and display.
Intelligence: T-Rex Vs. Velociraptor
While both predators would have been intelligent for dinosaurs, it is likely that the smaller velociraptor would have been more intelligent. This is based on parental actions, development of senses and pack hunting evidence
The T-Rex however was also intelligent and although there is less concrete evidence of pack hunting, and parental instincts there is plenty evidence of highly evolved senses including hearing, smell and sight. Greater Intelligence is needed to process the information from these senses.
Same Time Period and Continent
Neither one of them lived in the same place or at the same time.
The T-Rex lived in what is now North America around 70 – 66 million years ago, although ancestors were around ( and a little smaller) about 90 to 100 million years ago.
Velociraptor lived around 89 to 72 million years ago in Asia, so while there was some cross over they were alive on different continents
|Dinosaur||Skin||Carnivore||Location||Speed||LifeSpan||Lived in Pack||When Lived|
|Velociraptor||Scaled and feathered||yes||Asia||24 -40 MPH||15-20 years||yes||90 – 72 million years ago|
|T-Rex||Scaled and Feathered (probably)||yes||N. America||12 MPH||20-30 years||Possibly||70-66 million years ago|
Velociraptor Vs. T-Rex
While these two dinosaurs have a lot of similarities, they have some very vast differences as well. One of the biggest differences would have to be the sheer size of the two. They may have both been carnivores, but they definitely did not have the same diet. While they were both dinosaurs there was a large time gap in between the existence of each species, they also did not live on the same continent.
and In a fight
Just because we have compared other dinosaurs in a fight we can do the same here, although the answer is fairly straightforward.
While the velociraptor would have certainly been faster, and if it wanted to run away it could definitely beat the t-Rex in a speed race. However in a fight no matter how quick it was the T-Rex would just have to get one bite in to end things. It could even swing its tail and hit the velociraptor likely breaking bones.
Even if there was a pack of velociraptors it would be unlikely to make any difference. A T-Rex would simply be too strong and to dangerous for them.
We have a huge selection or articles to answer the common and some less common questions about the Tyrannosaurus Rex here on the site and to make it easier to access we have them in the table below.
Both dinosaurs were predatory theropods, and apex hunters. On the surface there is actually more that makes them similar than different, but scratch a little deeper and the differences are there. Diet, location and of course most obviously size!
Superficially it is like comparing a Lion with a Cheetah (we admit very superficially) one is built to take down large prey the other is a speedy hunter but both were perfectly evolved to become top of their relative food chains.
Hi, I am a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs