A Few Words on Feathered Dinosaurs

Stealthiness and thievery could be very well typical for raptors if they did lived up to their names. Raptor, meaning “to seize or take by force” are not unlike birds of prey with their quick striking sickled claws. Maniraptora, so far, are the closest ancestors to birds. Considered the missing links between birds and scaly dinosaurs they share uniquely bird-like traits: feathers (some capable of flight), hollow bones, hip structure, fused clavicles (a wishbone), a hardened sternum (breastbone), egg laying, and possibly a higher developed intelligence unlike the old dinosaurs. Goodbye to the likes of t. rex.

The Origins of Flight, the Few, the Privileged

Of all the life on earth, only five species ever evolved powered flight; they exclusively belong to man, bugs, bats, birds, and the largest of flying reptiles -the pterosaurs. The first by unnatural means, but manned aviation does make use of bird-like designs: adjustable wings and tails, convexed surfaces, and rounded wing tips. All of which reduce drag and create additional lift though heavey aircrafts can simply forgo bird logic by use of jet fueled engines. The two things required for true flight are thrust and lift; a speedy momentum followed by a steady stream of air currents. Something flying squirrels, snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, and even the strange monkey-like colugo are incapable of. Only birds, arguably the best fliers, can catch prey spiraling at 242 mph midair (25 g-forces) as peregrine falcons are recorded doing so.

The Mystery of How and Why Flight Became to Be

It was probably similar to many of the same theories as why tetrapod descendants walked onto land; such as food, predation, and adaptation to a changing new world. The evolution of locomotion whether by flight, swimming, and or running are shaped by behaviors from the pressures of environment. Only the best can survive and notable mentions included the raptor family which could possibly do all three. All raptors ran to catch prey or evade predators, some glided short distances as in the four-winged microraptors, and others swam as deinonychus inhabited swamps. Ancient avians were remarkable like today’s modern birds which are the fastest and most powerful fliers in the animal kingdom and evolved to become swimmers and runners as well. Today’s penguins can swim 22 mph and ostriches average 43 mph, so raptors held the genetic makeup for particularly some dynamic creatures.

Of Ancient Avians

The dinosaur to challenge 19th century notions that most were cold blooded reptiles was dienonychus, a 150 pound swift and agile predator. Most famous was velociraptor, which weighed no more than a mere 30 pounds. But he largest and most complete raptor found was achillobator in 1999, it was an 800 pound 20 foot creature, a giant by raptor standards.

Found throughout the Mesozoic era (the age of reptiles) raptors lived from deserts, plains, scrubs, woodland, swamps, to sub-tropical jungles of their time. Their long-lasting reign endured co-existing with much larger, fiercer theropods which were eventually outwitted as raptors are the only dinosaur to leave a modern dynasty giving rise to modern birds.

Raptor scale model replicas are finely sculpted for the ©2012-2014 RareBreed Prehistoric Collection.