Sammy (good_odds) wrote,
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Raptors: Scary dinosaurs, or the scariest dinosaurs?

Some backstory: wolfychan and I are having a contest to see who can be more obnoxiously verbose. We decided we needed a topic to be obnoxiously verbose about, so we picked Raptors Versus T-Rex. At least that's how it started, anyway. I think now we really are just arguing about dinosaurs. So without further ado...

“Raptors” Versus T-Rex: An Analysis In Prehistoric Fright



PREFACE


First and foremost, let it be made clear that this essay DOES NOT attempt to prove which dinosaur is “better” in all aspects. This essay simply desires to determine, from the perspective of a human being forced by circumstance or plot contrivance, which animal would be more frightening. The hypothesis put forward by this unofficial, uninformed investigation is that the “raptors” are scarier for a multitude of reasons, chief among which is that Tyrannosaurus Rex is merely a carnivore that seeks food wherever it can find it, whereas “raptors” and their ilk are the soulless, large-eyed minions of Satan himself, desiring the infliction of pain and suffering in the target above all else, going so far as to toy with a potential victim the way a cat might play with a mouse, thus prolonging his or her agony. Hell is likely run by “raptor” dinosaurs, because “raptors” are more efficient than demons.


An artist’s rendering of the recently discovered Pyroraptor, so named because it could breathe fire.


However, before we can argue the reasons why “raptors” are scarier than T-rex, we must first define what, exactly, a “raptor” is in this context. For the purposes of this argument, a raptor is defined as any member of the Dromesaurid family of dinosaurs, including but not limited to Velociraptor, Utahraptor, Dromeosaurus and Deinonychus. A “raptor” can also be anything I feel like calling a “raptor” for the hell of it. I’m not sure if “raptor” should go in quotes or not – honestly, I thought it looked cool for a little bit there but now it’s just getting to be annoying so I’m dropping the quotes. Raptors have a lot in common with birds of prey, their direct descendents.

Although the family relationships between different kinds of raptors are poorly understood as of yet, they ARE known to be the closest relatives of any dinosaur to modern-day birds, with some scientists suggesting they may have even had feathers. This would make raptors the most evolutionarily (which is too a word, shut up) successful of any dinosaur ever, because, rather than simply being wiped out by the K/T extinction event, they took to the skies as birds.

But I digress. And I reiterate, this essay isn’t intent on finding the “better” dinosaur, anyway. This essay is intent on finding the SCARIER DINOSAUR TO HUMAN BEINGS.

The case I will be making for raptor scariness rests on the following arguments:

  • Although Tyrannosaurus Rex is portrayed more often in popular culture, the T-rex is just as likely to appear as a lovable protagonist, incompetent bumbling villain or dispenser of justice than as a truly evil villain. Raptors are almost always portrayed as ruthless, evil killing machines with few exceptions. This shows that raptors are scarier because they are mean nearly without exception, while a significant amount of T-rexes are nice or at least well intentioned.
  • Raptors are SMARTER than Tyrannosaurus Rex, capable of plotting and planning the demise of a prey they have stalked for hours, while T-rex operates mainly on instinct and does not have the mental capacity to plan ambush attacks. This makes T-Rex easier to hide and escape from.
  • T-rexes attack and kill the truly deserving. Raptors terrorize children and attack and kill the merely unlucky. As long as you are a good and brave person, you can usually avoid Death by T-Rex. To be killed by a raptor, however, you need merely be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • More people are scared of raptors than T-rexes. This argument speaks for itself.
  • T-rex was just a scavenger. It may have occasionally acted as a predator when the opportunity presented itself, but it was, by and large, the hyena of the Cretaceous period. The Raptors were the real apex predators of their time.
  • Not all raptors are as small as the turkey-sized Velociraptor. While none that we know of were as big as T-rex, many of them were big enough to cause sufficient suffering to a human being and some of them were even the right size to look at a human being face-to-face, making conflict with a raptor far more personal and intimidating than conflict with a T-rex.
  • T-rex offers a much more merciful death – being killed instantly and swallowed in one bite. Raptors, however, will chase you around, toying with you until you’re too scared and exhausted to move. Then they will kill you – slowly, and painfully, and they will eat you alive, watching you with their big eyes the entire time.
  • When compared with the truly frightening raptors, T-rex becomes a maternal “protector” figure that guards humanity from the raptors’ evil, scary ways. Therefore, from a human standpoint, the raptors are more frightening.
  • T-rex only threatens life and limb of certain individuals. Raptors, who have the potential to evolve into a repto-bird-humanoid being, threaten all of humanity as a species, because they might usurp our position as Earth’s dominant life form if allowed to evolve out of control.
  • Raptors can run at twice the speed of sound and also shoot laser beams out their eyes. Check page 606, completely true.

    Now that you know what to expect, let’s get on with it.


    PART I: MANY TYRANNOSAURUSES ARE FRIENDLY OR KIND, WHEREAS 99% OF RAPTORS ARE DAUNTLESS KILLING MACHINES PERFECTLY ADAPTED TO REAPING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.




    Chomper, sweet-natured Tyrannosaurus sidekick.


    Look at the sweet purple creature in that picture, ladies and… well, ladies. Do any gentlemen even my read my journal? Maybe I can convince my brother to read this. Anyway, ladies and my brother, look at that sweet innocent creature. I ask you, is that the face of a vicious killer?

    IT IS NOT.

    Chomper the Tyrannosaurus Rex is sweet, loyal, fun-loving and capable of not eating his herbivorous friends. He expresses genuine compassion for other creatures and their feelings many times through the “Land Before Time” movies. He does bite Cera once, however, he doesn’t know any better when he does it, and he never does it again. Chomper is cute, sweet and innocent. He is what every child would want in a friend. [1]

    He is not scary. Nobody in his or her right mind, who happened upon Chomper, would run away screaming. They might, if they were the grumpy sort with no fondness for big-eyed child-animals, simply ignore him. But more likely, they would coo, “OMG, it’s so cute!” and run towards him, eager to cuddle and pet him.

    And he would let them. Because Chomper, despite his name, is sweet and kind and does not bite.

    You might wonder where I’m going with this. I am going, There is no raptor equivalent to Chomper. Although T-rexes are SOMETIMES portrayed as frightening villains, raptors are ALWAYS portrayed as frightening villains. There is no raptor that makes people want to run towards him yelling, “OMG, he’s so cute!” the way Chomper does.

    Also, in “Land Before Time 15 ½: We’re Running Out Of Ideas”, Chomper single-handedly rescues a bus full of retarded schoolchildren and their puppies from terrorists. This is yet more proof that Chomper and the other T-rexes like him are a friend to humanity, always looking out for our best interests.

    It is the raptors we need to fear. It is the raptors that sneak into our children’s bedrooms at night, hiding in their closets and devouring them when their parents are asleep, then going into the parents’ bedroom and devouring the parents as well. Let’s compare Chomper rescuing orphans with a raptor tale:

    Long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, in the 1970’s, a young girl was baby-sitting three children. When beating them severely failed to make them stop whining, she sent them all to bed and then settled down on the TV to watch porn. However, she’d barely begun watching when the telephone rang. However, when she answered, she heard only hissing noises on the other end. Annoyed and assuming it was a prank, she hung up.

    When the calls continued, the girl called the police to report a prank caller. However, she was alarmed with the police or the operator or who the fuck ever, it’s been like years since I heard this story and I think I forgot some details, informed her, “Ma’am, you have to get out of the house! That call is coming from upstairs!”

    The operator or dispatcher or whoever got no response, however. By that time, the raptor upstairs had run downstairs and devoured the baby-sitter – AFTER it had already devoured the children, evolved thumbs and learn to use a telephone. [2]

    And if you think that’s scary, just wait until all of raptor kind evolves thumbs and takes over humanity.

    But I digress. That’s another argument we haven’t yet come upon.

    Chomper is not the only example of the non-threatening T-rex! Take, for example, Roy Hess, a Tyrannosaurus from the erstwhile ABC series “Dinosaurs”. Roy Hess


    Roy Hess, dopey but affable Tyrannosaurus Rex of “Dinosaurs” fame.


    is generally portrayed as well-meaning, easy-going, inoffensive and so fucking dumb he can’t eat a lunch that has already accepted its fate as food, let alone something that’s actively running away from him. If you were lost in the forest and came upon Roy, would you really be afraid for your safety? I know I wouldn’t.

    Roy is an affable creature who calls other people “pally boy”. Not “doomed mortal who can evade my bite of doom”, not even “meat” or “lunch”, but “pally boy”. Although hardly capable of Chomper-esque cuteness or heroism, Roy is certainly is not a mean-spirited attack-beast out for blood. In fact, viewing of any episode in which he appears will confirm that he lacks both the intellect and the killer instinct to try to be or even want to be. Rather, he seems perfectly content in his lot as a dim-witted but likeable sidekick. Not only that, but he works for a herbivore – and doesn’t seem to mind it one bit. [3]

    In short, Mr. Hess is hardly such stuff as nightmares are made of, and he is far from being the only T-rex of such a nature. In fact, dopey-but-loveable Tyrannosaurs are practically a staple of American life.

    In A Book I Made Up Just Now: Bullshit That’s Probably Not Even Remotely True About Dinosaurs and Popular Culture, author V. Smart says, “These days, have two conflicting mental images of the Tyrannosaurus Rex – one is of a vicious killer, but the other is of an empty-headed but sweet-natured and loyal friend. The group of dinosaurs popularly known as ‘raptors’ send but one resounding message: ‘We have badass claws and we will fucking kill you, bitch.’ Slowly, T-rexes will be seen more and more as sweet, loveable scavengers until the raptors have completely usurped their position as the frightening dominant predators in our mind’s eye” [pg. 420].

    Even more, the physical attributes of each dinosaur reinforced these notions of "T-rex=friend" and "raptor=predator". T-rex’s appearance is slightly cartoonish, resembling a ridiculous, unrealistic horror movie monster more than what the images of what we commonly thing of as a dangerous predators today. However, raptors share elements of both physical appearance and social behavior with eagles, lions and wolves, three of today’s most feared predators. When people think of raptors, inevitably the first thing that comes to their mind is the animal’s pack-hunting and complex social structure – which resembles that of wolves or lions, cementing their image in the public’s mind as villainous hunters, ensuring that nearly all depictions of raptors in the history of everything ever are of vicious killing machines.

    Even raptor protagonists we’re supposed to identify with are presented as adept hunters capable of taking down enormous plant-eating beasts who do not stop in the face of anything to take down their prey. In Robert T. Bakker’s novel, Raptor Red, the Utahraptor heroine, armed only with her foot-claw and an AK-47, goes on a massive killing spree taking out an entire heard of Iguanodon, a Stegosaurus and three Protoceratops just because she feels like it. And do you know what? She wasn’t even hungry! She JUST LIKES KILLING, as all raptors do.

    Actually, for all we talk about raptors’ “hunting abilities”, that is merely a polite euphemism for what is really being alluded to. The hard cold fact of that matter is that raptors do not go hunting – like Chuck Norris, they go killing.

    Quite frankly, it’s in the raptor blood to love the sight, smell and taste of blood. And if the way they’re portrayed in the media is any indication, public consciousness not only recognizes this, but savors it. Prior to the discovery of raptor fossils, the public who hungered for prehistoric monsters was forced to make due with T-rex, a large but hulking and overall less frightening beast. Now that raptors have entered public consciousness, they have wasted no time in replacing T-Rex as the number one scary dinosaur in the public’s imagination.

    Some people may cling desperately to such notions as, “But T-Rex is bigger, so it has to be scarier!”, afraid of disrupting the status quo, despite the obviousness of the raptor’s superior scaring and hunting abilities. These people are very silly, of course. Bigger does not necessarily mean better – in fact, bigger can be a DETRIMENT to a dinosaur’s scaring ability – as my next arguments will surely show.


    A nice T-Rex who wants 2 b friends lol.


    II. RAPTORS ARE SMARTER THAN T-REX, MAKING THEM MORE DIFFICULT TO HIDE FROM AND MORE TERRIFYING TO ENCOUNTER.



    There is absolutely no question as to whether the Tyrannosaurs or the raptor family are more intelligent. Renowned expert paleontologists, avid dinosaur fanatics and people who have maybe heard the word “dinosaur” once or twice in their lives all agree: Raptors are smarter.


    A Utahraptor plots your imminent demise.


    For one thing, fossils of raptors have demonstrated repeatedly that raptors have larger brains for their body size than T-Rex (in fact, T-Rex’s brain was rather small for its body size). But there’s more to the argument that raptors are smarter than simply the size of their brain in comparison to their bodies.

    For one thing, raptors are pack animals, which means they need to be able to cooperate, live in groups and communicate. And not only that – but they can ambush and plan. Unlike T-Rex, who operates mainly on instinct, raptors exhibit the ability to think ahead, plan and strategize.

    This foresight is frightening indeed.



    They are so smart that even someone about to be devoured by them cannot help but marvel at their genius. And they are so ruthless they do not stop at devouring someone who has fed and cared for them. Unlike Chomper the T-rex, who returns kindness with kindness of his own, the raptors will not be stopped or swayed by niceties – if you are mean to them, they will kill you, and if you treat them well, they will probably still kill you. [4]

    Here, the raptors have developed a complex strategy for to hunt and kill the man who foolishly believes himself able to hunt and kill them. They have set a decoy that patiently laid in wait for the main to get close enough for the dominant matriarch to pounce on the park’s game warden and devour him. This kind of predatory chess-playing requires logic, imagination and communication – none of which Tyrannosaurus seems to possess to any great degree.

    There are two reasons raptors’ intelligence make them so frightening. The first reason is the obvious – intelligence means planning, laying a trap ahead of time, considering things that could go wrong, including ways to rectify plans that have gone awry and when to change course.

    An intelligent pack-hunter that lies in wait for its prey is much more difficult to evade, predict and hide from than a large, lone animal that can be easily distracted by some other movement by another animal that might be easier to catch. Foliage and buildings present the opportunity to hide from Tyrannosaurus Rex (provided, of course, that you don’t run right in its line of vision on your way there) – but these things offer no so cover from the raptors. In fact, they just make it easier for raptors to get you, because the raptor chasing you into the brush could have had such an intention all along. You only think you’ve gotten away from it; really, three of its very hungry buddies have been waiting for you there in the dense brush all along.

    Indeed, it’s nearly impossible to know if you’ve really escaped a raptor pack or not. You know if you’ve gotten away from T-Rex or from if he’s still coming after you. It’s hard not to know when a five-ton stomping reptile is coming at you unless you’re blind, deaf and incredibly stupid.

    Even the most alert individuals, however, would have trouble discerning if they’ve escaped the raptors or walked right into a planned raptor trap. Raptors are tricky creatures. The quiet that suddenly surrounds you may mean safety, may mean that you’ve finally lost them…or it could mean you’ve walked right into their trap, that you’re thinking exactly what they want you to think.

    Picture this: Two raptors are chasing you. They keep pace, but you’re always a step ahead. Beginning to lose your wind, you start to panic and worry that it might be the end until you see an abandoned, empty building up ahead. That gives you the strength to keep running until you get to the building – the raptors never quite catch up with you, but you never quite lose them, either. But finally you manage to get the door open, throw yourself inside the building the slam the door shut behind you in the raptors’ faces.

    You kneel down in front of the door, managing to breathe a sigh of relief even though your chest is heaving and your sides hurt. You’re safe. You’ve made it. You’ve lost the raptors.

    Or so you think, anyway, until you hear the floor slowly creeeeeaaaak behind you. The light is dim, but not so dim that you can’t see. And turning around reveals that there’s not one but three raptors in the building with you.

    And they’ve been there, this entire time, just waiting for the other two to chase you in the right direction.

    Raptors’ intelligence make them a formidable opponent for humanity because they, like humans, use their intelligence to maintain control of other animals “below” them. They operate not merely an undefined feeling that tells them they should do something, but on ideas, concepts, memories, orders…

    It’s the “like humans” bit that also helps to make raptors unnerving even when they don’t want to kill you. They are too primitive and too animalistic to really be like us, but at the same time, they are too smart and too social to really be like a “normal” animal, either. There’s something uncanny about crossing paths with a beast that is halfway between man and dinosaur, something that lacks many of the standard qualities we consider human (like, saying, have a soul that is not tainted wholly by blackness and the desire for pain and suffering) but, at the same time, possesses many of them as well.

    Raptors live in groups. They communicate with each other. They walk on two legs, and, in the case of the Utahraptors, are about our size. They think ahead, they reason, they imagine and plot and scheme.

    We do those things. Much differently, but we do them. When confronted with a raptor, there’s a sense of personal confrontation that it is noticeably missing when confronted with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. There’s almost the feeling that one could beg or plead or ask the raptor to stop doing this, to not to do this, to listen to reason. There’s the temptation to explain that better, more filling and nutritious food could be gotten elsewhere, and to hope that the raptor might understand what’s being said.

    There’s something vindictive and mean and utterly confrontational about a raptor looking at you or even up at you. It’s less like running from a monster and more like fighting with another person – and that emotional impact makes it all the more frightening. The raptor is very much a monster and not at all a personal, and our logical side knows this – but our emotional side, the side that reacts when confronted with everything from a jilted lover to an angry parent to a cavalry of enemy soldiers responds anyway, both wishing we could reason with raptor and wishing the raptor adapted another, less humanlike mode of behavior that did not leave us with this uneasy feeling.


    Raptors involved in the humanlike activity of playing professional sports.


    The Uncanny Valley theory is the argument that the more human something becomes, the more sympathetic it becomes, until there reaches a point when something becomes too human without being entirely human that it becomes worrying. Here is a diagram that may explain the Uncanny Valley better than I can:



    Again, you might ask, “Where the hell is this going? Is she out of her mind?” and I guess I would have to admit that yes, I am completely out of my fucking mind, but I do have a point with this.

    A Tyrannosaurus Rex falls around the area of a humanoid robot – its size and big teeth may frighten us at first, but it is not so unlike as to be boring or so like us as to be creepy. This means that a T-Rex can grab our sympathy, makes us root for it, makes us like it. Even some people who generally argue that T-Rex is “scarier” than raptors seem to do so out of affection or fondness for the animal, a desire to prove that it is “better” rather than real fear.

    Raptors, on the other hand, are about on the level of a moving prosthetic hand. They are like us enough to creep us the fuck out while still being unlike us enough that we feel a block in sympathizing with them. We seem them as evil – the villains, the enemies – at worst, something to despise and fear, and best, something to hold in awe and treat with respect, but not something to be cuddled.


    Plastic Velociraptors are crazy, man. They will cut you.


    III. TYRANNOSAURUS REX METERS OUT JUSTICE, KILLING ONLY THE TRULY DESERVING AND MOSTLY ONLY ATTACKING ADULT MEN. RAPTORS WILL ATTACK AND KILL THE MERELY UNLUCKY, AND DO NOT HESITATE TO TERRORIZE WOMEN AND CHILDREN FOR FUN AND PROFIT.

    A.K.A., THE CAPSLOCK SECTION.



    THE RAPTORS TOOK OUT SAMUEL L. JACKSON, MAN. SAMUEL L. MOTHERFUCKIN’ JACKSON!!! THE SNAKES COULDN’T EVEN TAKE OUT SAM JACKSON, BUT THE RAPTORS DID. DO YOU THINK ANY T-REX COULD – OR FUCK, WOULD – KILL SAMUEL L. JACKSON??? NO!!! NO, HE WOULD NOT, BECAUSE ONLY A RAPTOR IS HEARTLESS, SOULLESS AND EVERYTHING ELSE-LESS ENOUGH TO EVEN THINK ABOUT KILLING SAMUEL L. MOTHERFUCKIN’ JACKSON!

    In “Jurassic Park” specifically, T-Rex occasionally tries to eat a car or two, and has no reservations about attacking unpleasant people we want to get eaten anyway. But raptors, while they too will attack unpleasant people we want to see eaten, spend nearly as much time menacing the heroes. There is an extended scene where the raptors hunt and terrorize two small children; the children manage to escape, thank God, but the scene is still harrowing.

    In other movies and series, both raptors and T-Rex are depicted menacing central characters, however, there is a marked difference in how the menacing occurs. A T-Rex is usually depicted as seeking either food or its offspring in a tender, heartwarming way, showing us that T-Rexes HAVE FEELINGS ASIDE FROM PURE, UNFILTERED SADISM, UNLIKE RAPTORS, WHO ARE SOULLESS EVIL-SPREADING SERIAL KILLERS, THE JEFFERY DAHMERS OF THE REPTILE WORLD.

    Tyrannosaurus Rex is like a judge and jury, attacking only an ugly bald guy whose name I don’t remember and who abandoned children. That guy totally deserved to be eaten. Adults shouldn’t abandon kids. I wouldn’t abandon kids. Would you abandon a kid? Of course you wouldn’t. So T-Rex wouldn’t eat you.

    Raptors would, though. The Big Book of Raptors: Something Else I Made Up Just This Second by Ina Mortenhu clearly asserts that “raptors are evil…they truly feed no on the meat of the carcasses of those they slay…but upon the pain suffered by the victim in its last hours…”

    And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.

    Wait. Sorry.

    AND THERE YOU MOTHERFUCKIN’ HAVE IT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!!! RAPTORS ARE EVIL!!!! THEY ARE SO EVIL THEY ACTUALLY FEED ON PAIN AND SADNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHICH WOULD BE MORE SCARED OF:

    A.) NICE CUDDLY ANIMAL THAT JUST LOVES ITS CHILDREN AND HAPPENS TO NEED MEAT

    OR

    B.) EVIL, EVIL CREATURE THAT WILL GET IN YOUR HOUSE AND STEAL ALL YOUR VALUABLES, THEN LIE IN WAIT FOR YOU TO GET HOME AND THEN SHOOT YOU WITH ITS AK-47?

    Yeah. That’s what I thought.


    I just think this image looks cool.


    IV. A RANDOM SURVEY OF PEOPLE I KNOW REVEALS THAT MORE PEOPLE ARE FRIGHTENED OF RAPTORS THAN T-REX. ALL SURVEYS WERE TAKEN AROUND THE SAME TIME, NONE OF THE RESPONDENTS KNEW WHICH SIDE I WAS ARGUING PRIOR TO ANSWERING THE QUESTION AND NONE OF THEM KNEW HOW THE OTHERS HAD ANSWERED.

    ONE PERSON SAID, “UM…THEY’RE BOTH EQUALLY SCARY?” AND ONE PERSON SAID, “T-REX.” BUT I DIDN’T INCLUDE THOSE RESPONSES BECAUSE THEY DON’T PROVE MY POINT.



    Names are withheld so that the raptors can’t find these nice people and eat them. Typos and misspellings were left in so as not to alter responses in any way.

    hardlythatclever: Who's scarier, raptors or t-rex?
    xxx: RAPTORS.
    hardlythatclever: Thank you! Any reasons?
    xxx: smaller
    xxx: more agile.
    xxx: and can get in your fuckin' house

    hardlythatclever: Which is scarier, raptors or t-rex?
    xxx: Raptors
    xxx: T-rexes were scavengers

    hardlythatclever: Um, hi. I’m taking a survey of dinosaur scariness. Would you say raptors or t-rex are more frightening?
    xxx: raptors.
    xxx: a t-rex is big and scary, but raptors are smarter and quicker.

    hardlythatclever: Raptor ot T-rex: Who’s scarier?
    xxx: well, velociraptors are faster, it depends if you can get to cover, because it's easier to hide from a t-rex. but t-rex are a lot faster than movies would have you think-- they actually didn't stand up the way they're shown, the more crouch and can really run. But yeah, depends on the cover, because if you have cover, you can more easily hide. Plus, you might be too small for a t-rex to really care.
    xxx: I'd say in most cases, velociraptor, even though t-rex would probably win in a fight, unless there were a lot of relociraptors

    hardlythatclever: (raptors or t-rex: who’s scarier?)
    xxx: (raptors D:)
    hardlythatclever: (Any reasons why?)
    xxx: (hmm… I guess with T-Rex you know when he’s coming :O)

    hardlythatclever: Okay, I know you're not much of a dinosaur person, but if you HAD to pick...raptors or t-rex: who's scarier?
    xxx: Raptors.
    hardlythatlcever: Cool! Any reasons why?
    xxx: XDDD They're just more personal.

    Six anonymous people can’t be wrong.

    V. TYRANNOSAURUS REX, THE SUPPOSED “LIZARD KING”, WAS ACTUALLY LITTLE MORE THAN A SCAVENGER – YEAH! YOU HEARD ME! SCAVENGER! – AND THE RAPTOR DINOSAURS WERE THE TRUE DOMINANT PREDATORS OF THE CRETACEOUS PERIOD.



    This is actually one of the few sections of this essay that wasn’t completely and entirely pulled out of my ass on the spur of the moment.

    Jack Horner, one of the world’s foremost paleontologists, respected by the scientific community for his insight, experience and intelligence. He’s also one of the best-known modern paleontologists – he is, in fact, the person many people think of when asked to put a face and name to the occupation of paleontology. Put simply, guy knows his shit. He’s good at what he does. He’s one of the elite, the experts.

    And he firmly believes that T-Rex wasn’t a predator at all, but a mere scavenger. It may have occasionally killed something similar to the way hyenas occasionally kill today, but it was not a full-time predator. It was, first and foremost, a scavenger living off the kills of other animals:

    The raptors.

    According to an article on the very subject, “Tyrannosaurus, says Jack Horner, was a nasty-looking, hunched-over beast that was a lousy runner with mediocre vision and had spindly little arms that would have been useless in a fight. Even worse, if T. rex tripped and fell or was toppled by a stubborn foe, those arms could do little to dampen the impact of tons of falling dinosaur; the all-but-inevitable broken bones could easily prove fatal.”

    Horner argues that, though T-rex would have been a crappy predator, he would have been an excellent scavenger. Although T-rex is not considered to have a particularly large brain for its size, there is one area of T-rex’s brain that is highly developed – its sense of smell, perfect for locating rotting corpses of raptor-killed or natural causes-killed dinosaurs.

    Horner admits that reaction to his hypothesis is often heated and not always positive. However, he adds, the people who challenge him aren’t challenging him on the basis of counter-evidence, but because they don’t like to see their own long-held beliefs challenged, even if the evidence points at something quite different than what they’d like to believe.

    But Horner knows his Tyrannosaurs. Teams that Horner led into the Hell Creek region of eastern Montana found the remains of no less than eight different T-rex in the past two years.

    In his own words: "People don't like it much. But we're doing science here. It's not an opinion poll. This is based on an accumulation of the evidence. It's just hard to change your mind when you grow up with the idea that this is a big, nasty predator."

    So what is the evidence for T-rex’s being a scavenger, other than its poor vision and keen sense of smell?

    For one thing, its spindly arms are nearly useless. They’re not strong or big enough to lift or tear, or even lift meat to the animal’s mouth. They’d do absolutely no good in a fight and, if T-rex fell, would be unable to break the giant’s fall.

    For another thing, T-rex’s thighbone is a lot longer than its shinbone. This is problematic for a predatory animal, because often fast animals have a thighbone and shinbone of equal length, or even, as in the case of fast-running flightless birds like emus and ostriches, a short thighbone and a long shinbone. I don’t need to point out that that’s the exact opposite of how T-rex is built, but I will.

    So if T-rex wasn’t the top predator, who was? Someone had to be, right?

    Well, of course. The article beseeches us to, “Consider the real predators of the Late Cretaceous, smaller and truly vicious bipedal dinosaurs such as Velociraptor, Deinonychus and Dromaeosaurus. Fossil skeletons (6 to 10 feet [2 to 3 meters] long) clearly depict agile creatures built for speed, with short, powerful thighs and long shins. Their arms were relatively long and strong, with vicious claws. One toe of each foot was armed with a long, sickle-like claw that could eviscerate its victims with a single swipe. Beneath large eyes was a mouth filled with sharp teeth serrated like steak knives. These were killing machines, and they probably hunted in packs like modern wolves.” (Bold mine.)

    "They are," Horner says, "just built completely different. When you add up all the features of a Velociraptor, you come to the conclusion that it had to be a predator. If you add up all the features of T. rex, it has to be a scavenger."

    T-rex’s bone-crushing teeth – once held to be one of its scarier features – actually support the notion that it was not a predator, but a scavenger. The raptors’ teeth are serrated like steak knives, built for slicing flesh and tearing it off kills. But T-rex’s teeth, made to crush bone, support the idea that it came long after choice meat had already been culled from the carcass, and its powerful teeth were put to work crushing the bone and gristle that had been left behind by the Dromaeosaurus or Utahraptors who had been at the kill previously.

    There’s even fossil evidence for T-rex scavenging kills – a Triceratops was found with T-rex teeth marks on in an area that could not be accessed until the animals was torn apart by raptors, the apex predators of the Cretaceous.

    That the raptors, with their elegant features and bright feathers, are prettier than T-rex is no accident, either. It’s simply more evidence that raptors were hunters and T-rex was a scavenger. After all, Horner points out, look at the how ugly many modern-day scavengers are in comparison with more comely predators.

    And would you really be scared of an ugly scavenger?


    U-G-L-Y, YOU AIN’T GOT NO ALIBI YOU UGLY! (I didn’t use a jackal because those things are actually kind of cute.)


    VI. VELOCIRAPTORS ARE SMALLER THAN THEY ARE PRESENTED IN “JURASSIC PARK” AND CERTAIN OTHER POPULAR BOOKS AND MOVIES. HOWEVER, THEY ARE DANGEROUS DESPITE BEING SMALL. ALSO, MANY OTHER KINDS OF RAPTORS ARE MUCH BIGGER THAN THE VELOCIRATOR.



    To prove it, here’s a size comparison of some other raptors with human beings. [5]


    A size comparison of Deinonychus and an adult man.



    Size comparison of Utahraptor and an adult man.



    Achillobator, the biggest raptor ever. It was the size of 3 blue whales and a bus.


    VII. EVEN THE PREDATORY T-REX DEPICTED IN MOVIES OFFERS A MORE MERCIFUL DEATH – HAVING YOUR NECK SNAPPED AND THEN SWALLOWED HOLE – THAN THE MUCH MORE AGONIZING “BE CHASED AROUND AND TERRORIZED FOR HOURS AND THEN EATEN ALIVE” OFFERED BY THE RAPTORS.



    You stare at him, and he just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two 'raptors you didn't even know were there. Because Velociraptor's a pack hunter, you see, he uses coordinated attack patterns and he is out in force today. And he slashes at you with this... a six-inch retractable claw, like a razor, on the the middle toe. He doesn't bother to bite your jugular like a lion, say... no no. He slashes at you here... or here... or maybe across the belly, spilling your intestines. The point is... you are alive when they start to eat you.
    - Dr. Alan Grant

    For the luckier ones, Death by T-Rex could be over quickly – one bite, one good toss in the air. Your neck snaps, or there’s a moment of searing pain when it bites down, and then everything goes black. It’s over. It’s not pretty, it’s not pleasant…but at least it hasn’t been drawn out. At least you didn’t have to suffer that searing pain for hours while the T-Rex bit into you while you were still breathing.

    And that’s assuming an animal as big as T-Rex would even really give two shits about a tiny person. A T-Rex might easily regard us as too small to even bother hunting for in first place. And THAT is assuming T-Rex hunts at all.

    Not so with the raptors. First, there’s the fear and terror involved in being chased everywhere, hunting like a rat by a cat, as the raptor pack toys with you, taunting you, and the previously-mentioned-in-other-sections emotional confrontation of having to look face-to-face with this animal, this not-man.

    And then, when they’ve chased you into a trap or you’re just too tired to keep going, they attack, pouncing on you, stabbing you with their toe-claws and biting. You even get to see your own intestines.

    If you’re lucky, you die or faint from blood loss not long after they start in on eating you.

    VIII. WHENEVER RAPTORS AND T-REXES APPEAR TOGETHER, THE TYRANNOSAUR IS NEARLY ALWAYS PRESENTED AS THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS, AND SOMETIMES EVEN TAKES THE ROLE OF A MATERNAL PROTECTOR-FIGURE THAT RESCUES HUMANS FROM TORTUROUS RAPTOR VILLAINS.



    This is the scene that absolutely nailed “Raptors are scarier than T-Rex!” for me:



    At first blush, you might have cause to say, “But the T-Rex wins! How the fuck does that make the raptors scarier?”

    The raptors are scarier, at least for me, because they are trying to hurt the humans, whereas the T-Rex is going after the other dinosaurs, even inadvertently rescuing the human beings who would otherwise be little more than Velociraptor lunchmeat. In my mind, it establishes “RAPTORS = SCARY, SCARY VILLAINS” and “T-REX = NICE PROTECTOR OF THE GOOD GUYS” better than anything I could actually say myself.

    It’s probably not the impression I was supposed to come away with, but judging by how many people were freaked the fuck out by the raptors rather than the T-Rex, I wasn’t alone in feeling that way.

    The raptors are, quite simply, scary fuckers and, when T-Rex and Velociraptor are in the same scene and you need to have one menacing people and one menacing other dinosaurs, it’s the Velociraptor who goes straight for the humans… and T-Rex who, rather than eating them, actually accidentally becomes their savior.

    VIIII. TYRANNOSAURUS REX ONLY THREATENS THE LIFE AND LIMB OF SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS. RAPTORS AND THEIR ILK, HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE K/T EXTINCTION EVENT, WOULD HAVE EVOLVED INTO REPTILIOD BEINGS THAT USURPED THE POSITION OF HUMANITY AS THE DOMINANT SPECIES ON THE PLANET.




    A suggested evolution of Troodon, a close relative of the raptors.


    It is the raptors, already smarter than the smartest Harvard professor, who had the potential to evolve into a species that could rival our own, taking the Earth from our grubby primate clutches and claiming it for their own.

    Some people, of course, believe that the raptors DID evolve into sentient, human-esque life forms that control the Earth. But the raptors are too smart to let us know that they control the Earth, of course. Quite naturally, they have gone under ground instead and control the world from below.


    I, for one, welcome our new raptor overlords.


    Raptors, once content merely to torture and kill humans, are no longer satisfied with merely that. While T-Rex will be content merely to chase and kill a few individuals from time to time, raptors want more. So, after evolving magic and the ability to shapeshift, they have taken over the entire planet are now responsible for all human misery [6], which they delight in.

    All of our planet’s current leaders are actually raptors in disguise. The raptors founded the Skull and Bones, the Illuminati, the Masons and any other organizations whose mere existences are suspicious and/or threatening.

    Raptors, who enjoy a good keg party, are well-known to belong to ever fraternity ever in the history of ever. Raptors invented fraternities, actually. And sororities. They also invented hazing and are known to regularly “haze” humans who cross paths with them by EATING THEM FOR DINNER.

    X. RAPTOR FACTS



    1. Guns don’t kill people. Raptors kill people.

    2. Raptors don’t sleep. They wait.

    3. Raptors drive ice cream trucks covered in human skulls.

    4. The Great Wall of China was originally built to keep raptors out. It failed miserably.

    5. The raptors invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear.

    6. Raptors CAN believe it’s not butter.

    7. When taking the SAT, write “Velociraptor” for every answer. You will get a perfect score.

    8. Raptors don’t believe in Germany.

    9. Raptors killed Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince, pg. 606)

    10. There is both an “I” and a “team” in “Raptor”. Or at least there is if you spell it “Rateamptior”.

    FOOTNOTES


    [1] An informal survey of 200 adorable rosy-cheeked children ages 3 to whenever they stop being cute were shown a picture of Chomper and asked if they would find him terrifying. All respondents replied that they would not find Chomper terrifying and, in fact, would like a Chomper of their own to love.

    [2] Contrary to popular belief, Alexander Graham Bell did not, in fact, invent the telephone. A pack of Utahraptors did so that they could more easily plot ways to kill things together. Mr. Bell tried to steal the Utahraptors’ invention and claim it as his own. In retaliation, the Utahraptors ate him, his family and anyone who had ever smiled at him ever.

    [3] Who was it that said there were no Tyrannosaurus sidekicks? I could have sworn it was somebody…

    [4] Not probably. They WILL kill you.

    [5] I think it’s kind of obvious that I was winding down a little around this part. Hey, YOU try spewing 17 pages of nonsense all day long and see if you don’t get tired.

    [6] Raptors are responsible for all the wars in the world. They also invented annoying telemarketers and reality TV.


    My original goal was to get this so ridiculously long it wouldn't fit in one post. Sadly (happily?), though, even I get tired of listening to myself talk -- or reading myself write, as the case may be -- eventually, and I'm afraid you'll all have to make due with just this.
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