Since its debut in 1993, Jurassic Park movie and its 5 sequels, has captured the imagination of audiences globally – who doesn’t love a world where humans encounter resurrected dinosaurs. One of the most famous of these is the Velociraptor. However, as often happens in Hollywood, creative storytelling can sometimes blur the lines between fiction and fact. We take a look at the differences between the Jurassic Park Velociraptors and the real ones below.
Jurassic Park’s velociraptors are larger and lack feathers compared to real velociraptors, which were the size of turkeys and feathered. The film’s portrayal also emphasizes vocalizations and intelligence, while real velociraptors were smaller and likely not as intelligent they were still effective predators.
This article looks into these differences in more details between the Jurassic Park Velociraptors and the real versions and how those differences influence how people think of dinosaurs now.
Velociraptors in The Jurassic Park Movies
In the “Jurassic Park” movies, Velociraptors are shown as much larger dinosaurs than they were. They are almost the same height as an adult human.
In all three of the Jurassic Park movies they are shown with smooth, reptilian scaly skin, sharp claws, and a menacing gaze, creating definite threat of danger and power around them.
Intelligence and behavior:
The films certainly exaggerate the Velociraptor’s cognitive abilities and intelligence to create tension and drama. We are shown them using strategic hunting techniques, often working together in packs to catch their prey, (people in this case) with the ability to plan.
This heightened intelligence is also shown when they interact with man-made structures, most memorably, their ability to open doors. ( which we look at in more detail here in the article “can dinosaurs open doors“
In Jurassic Park three it goes even further when the movie, gives them the ability to vocalizations, suggesting a form of sophisticated communication. Which we look at in more detail below.
Vocalizations and communication:
One of the standout characteristics of the movie raptors, the third movie, is their wide range of vocal sounds. From echoing calls to communicate with pack members to hisses and growls in confrontational scenarios.
Origins and discovery:
Velociraptors roamed our planet approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period. First unearthed in the 1920s in the deserts of Mongolia, these fossils shed a more accurate light on the diverse range of theropod dinosaurs not all were huge 10 ton predators..
Unlike their Jurassic Park counterparts, real Velociraptors were much smaller, with an estimated length of around 6.8 feet and a height akin to that of a turkey.
More recent paleontological findings suggest that velociraptors likely had feathers. Which will shown in jurassic park 3 to a limited degree was still not an accurate representation. Although the pyroraptor in Jurassic World dominion may have been closer ( except size) and possibly even went too far!
While not exactly the large, reptilian predators as seen on screen, these feathered beings were nonetheless remarkable in their own right.
Behavior and ecology:
Velociraptors, as predators, primarily fed on smaller animals. ( although ther eis evidence of them trying to take down larger prey – as shown in the fighting dinsoaurs fossils.
Their sharp claws and teeth indicate a carnivorous diet, potentially including small reptiles, amphibians, and even other smaller dinosaurs.
As for their social behavior, while it’s challenging and risky to work out exact social structures from fossils, some evidence points towards them having some form of social interactions, possibly hunting in groups or packs.
In stark contrast to their Hollywood depictions, real-life Velociraptors were a blend of avian and reptilian features, and not 6 feet tall killing machines! – just 2 feet tall ones!
Table 1: The Difference between Jurassic Park and Real Velociraptors.
We have highlighted the main differences between the Jurassic park velociraptors and real ones below in the table for easier reference.
|Feature/Characteristic||Jurassic Park Velociraptor||Real Velociraptor|
|Size||About 6 feet tall and 13-15 feet long||Approximately 2 feet tall at the hip and 6-7 feet long|
|Intelligence||Often portrayed with near-human intelligence and problem-solving abilities||Smart for a dinosaur, but there’s no evidence to suggest human-like intelligence|
|Appearance||Lacks feathers (mostly)||Recent fossil evidence suggests they had feathers, especially on the arms / forelimbs and possibly on the body|
|Habitat||Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna (fictional islands)||Mongolia and northern China, around 75 million years ago|
|Social Behavior||Shown hunting in packs with complex strategies||Some evidence suggests pack hunting, but not conclusively proven|
|Sounds||Eerie, screeching vocalizations||No real way to determine the sounds they made|
|Diet||Predominantly larger prey and even humans in the movies||Likely small to medium-sized dinosaurs and other small vertebrates|
Why are there differences between Jurassic Park Velociraptors and real ones?
There has to be a monster in a monster movie!
Cinema has always had to “add something” to reality and nowhere is this more obvious than with the concept of the ‘monster. In a bid to excite their audiences, filmmakers often exaggerate the size, ferocity, and capabilities of creatures. The jurassic park velociraptors are a prime example of this.
Larger, more menacing animals certainly command attention on the big screen. By presenting Velociraptors as intelligent large and dangerous predators, the “Jurassic Park versions, made sure that suspense and fear became central elements in the movie.
Although not accurate we have to admit that the movie would have lost something if they characters were running from toothy oversized chickens instead of 6 feet tall dinosaurs.
“Don’t go into the knee length grass, Don’t go into the knee length grass”
just doesn’t have the same ring to it!
Using a different raptor!
At the time “Jurassic Park” was being made, the velociraptor’s portrayal was not entirely without merit, just it was based from a different dinosaur.
The movie’s raptors were, in fact, closer in size and appearance to another species of raptor named Deinonychus. There was a blending of species, driven in part by the gaps and evolving nature of dinosaur research and the need for a bigger “monster
It was also thought that people would have less trouble with the name Velociraptor than with Deinonychus
As our understanding of dinosaurs developed, so too did the recognition of their bird-like characteristics, like feathers.
However, remembering that the first movie was made in the early 1990’s tion, ideas like this were not as well-known or popular then as they are now.
Creative liberties and the goal of entertainment:
Movies are made to tell a story. While based on Michael Crichton’s novel, the Jurassic Park movies, like many adaptations, took creative liberties to improve the viewer’s experience and in fairness even in the books the velociraptors were over sized and aggressive.
Dinosaur confrontations, intelligent predators, and thrilling chase scenes all made the movie what it is today. Movie makers prioritize entertainment, and certain factual accuracies were sacrificed for this.
It’s important to recognize that while movies can educate, they’re primarily designed to entertain. and the “Jurassic Park Movies certainly achieved this and more.
Impact of the Jurassic Park Movies on Dinosaur Education.
The Jurassic Park movies, with million of people having seen the movie, has definitely influenced how many perceive dinosaurs and has driven their popularity to even greater heights.
The films sparked a renewed fascination with paleontology and dinosaurs. Audiences, both young and old, went on to vist museums, read books, and watch documentaries, eager to learn more.
The, at the time, state of the art, visualizations of dinosaurs in the movies raised questions, encouraging viewers to delve deeper, promoting educational pursuits and discussions.
and judging from the number of dinosaur movies that have followed it and some truly stunning more accurate dinosaur documentaries like Prehistoric Planet with David Attenborough -which we look at here on the site as well.
However, with influence comes responsibility.
The series certainly even if inadvertently created some misconceptions. For many, the movies velociraptors became the definitive image, overshadowing actual scientific findings and even disappointed some to find that real ones would have been much smaller and looked very different.
The challenge now is to differentiate between Hollywood’s portrayal and the factual realities. Even the movies recognized this we think when they included the line below.
As Owen Grady said in Jurassic World.
They’re dinosaurs, Wow Enough!Owen Grady
The “Jurassic Park” series, while awesome movies (as our box set under our television attests to), definitely does not show scientific reality.
These differences, to add drama and due to lack of knowledge at the time, have left impressions on audiences worldwide.
These impressions, though, spark enthusiasm and its a small price to play.
And with Documentaries being made alongside these to capture some of that enthusiasm, science, as well as life will find a way.
Hi, I am Roy Ford 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 and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.