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Raptor Tooth

Raptor Tooth

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Above: Front of the Specimen Card

Known popularly as "raptors," dromaeosaurids were a diverse family of feathered theropod dinosaurs. In addition to being feathered, members of Dromaeosauridae had long tails and an elongated "sickle claw" on the second toe. While this distinctive body plan suggests a link to birds, scientists are still unclear on the exact connection between these two successful evolutionary lines, though there is some evidence that smaller species could at least glide.

 

Above: Example raptor teeth with fine feathered friends. Fossil finds over the last several decades have confirmed that most if not all Dromeaosaurids had feathers.

This specimen is a raptor tooth from the Cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco. Typically attributed to Dromaeosaurids, these teeth are nearly impossible to classify given the scarcity of complete skulls. Some research suggests that larger teeth (above 1") may actually be from small members of the Abelisauridae family of Ceratosaurian dinosaurs.

Raptor Tooth Sizes

  • Small - 8-16mm
  • Medium - 16-26mm 

All raptor teeth specimens ship in our glass-topped riker display cases. The case measures 4"x3"x1". A small information card is also included, which also serves as the certificate of authenticity.  Small and Medium teeth will be enclosed in our acrylic specimen jars.

Please Note: Color and shape varies widely on this specimen. 

More About Raptors

 

"You bred raptors?"

~ Dr. Alan Grant, Jurassic Park

Within the dromaeosaurid family individual characteristics include a relatively large skull, serrated teeth, a narrow snout, and forward-facing eyes, the latter suggesting some level of binocular vision common to most predators. They had a moderately long S-curved neck and a short body. They were bipedal, walking on their hind legs, their feet bore a large, recurved, scimitar-like claw on the second toe, and their tails were long and slender. Their long arms could be folded next to their body and their large hands had three long fingers ending in sharp claws.

Above: Size chart of different well-known dromaeosaurs: Microraptor gui, Velociraptor mongoliensis, Austroraptor cabazai, Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Utahraptor ostrommaysorum, and Deinonychus antirrhopus. (Image Credit: Fred Wierum)

Fossil discoveries in 1999 confirmed that most if not all dromaeosaurids were probably covered in feathers. This would have included down-like feathers which would have coated the body as well as pennaceous feathers (those with a stalk or quill as illustrated here). Some theropod fossils also include fully developed feathered wings.

Species in the family ranged in size from smaller than a modern-day chicken to large, powerful predators measuring more than 18 ft (6 m) in length from tooth-to-tail. In addition to being feathered, members of Dromaeosauridae had long tails and an elongated "sickle claw" on the second toe. Numerous studies suggest that these adaptations helped these predators quickly subdue their prey.

Above: The holotype of Microraptor gui. Preserved feathers indicated by the white arrow and black arrows indicate where they appear to be absent. (Scale bar at 5 cm.)

It has been suggested that at least five dromaeosaurid species had the ability to fly or glide. This possibility is supported by the length of the forelimbs and the evidence of quill knob attachments for long, sturdy flight feathers. The dromaeosaurid, Microraptor gui (pictured above), was equipped with well-developed wings on both hind and forelimbs. Studies have found that Microraptor gui had the physical requirements to sustain level-powered flight in addition to gliding.

While this distinctive body plan suggests a link to birds, scientists are still unclear on the exact connection between these two successful evolutionary lines, though there is some evidence that at least five smaller species could glide, if not fly. This possibility is supported by the length of the forelimbs and the evidence of quill knob attachments for long, sturdy, flight feathers.

For many years scientists had hypothesized about group hunting behavior in dromaeosaurids, a natural question given their size in relation to certain prey. The exciting discovery and analysis of a fossil theropod trackway in 2007 uncovered six parallel and closely spaced trackways. Elsewhere, theropod fossils have been uncovered in small groups, sometimes near the remains of herbivore dinosaurs. This has been taken as evidence of coordinated packs working together to hunt. However, other interpretations suggest that the theropods were solitary hunters which were drawn to previously killed carcasses; a mobbing behavior.

Further Reading

Richter, Ute, Alexander Mudroch, and Lisa G. Buckley. "Isolated theropod teeth from the Kem Kem beds (early Cenomanian) near Taouz, Morocco." Paläontologische Zeitschrift 87.2 (2013): 291-309.

Long, John A., and Peter Schouten. Feathered dinosaurs: the origin of birds. Oxford University Press, USA, 2008.

Turner, Alan H., et al. "A basal dromaeosaurid and size evolution preceding avian flight." Science 317.5843 (2007): 1378-1381.

Holtz, Thomas R. "Dinosaur predation." Predator-Prey Interactions in the Fossil Record. Springer, Boston, MA, 2003. 325-340.

Li, Rihui, Martin G. Lockley, Peter J. Makovicky, Masaki Matsukawa, Mark A. Norell, Jerald D. Harris and Mingwei Liu. "Behavioral and faunal implications of Early Cretaceous deinonychosaur trackways from China." Naturwissenschaften 95.3 (2007):185-191. Web 11 March 2018.

Xu, Xing, Xiao-Lin Wang and Xiao-Chun Wu. "A dromaeosaurid dinosaur with a filamentous integument from the Yixian Formation of China." Nature 401 (1999):262-266. Web 10 March 2018.
Hone DWE, Tischlinger H, Xu X, Zhang F (2010) The Extent of the Preserved Feathers on the Four-Winged Dinosaur Microraptor gui under Ultraviolet Light. PLoS ONE 5(2): e9223. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009223

Above: Back of the Specimen Card

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