STL Science Center

STL Science Center

15 March 2014

Softer Sides of Savagery

©Ezequiel Vera
Atrociraptor means "Savage Thief" and is really a fairly fantastic name. The majority of images that people have come up with for this supposedly savage dinosaur are very violent, perhaps appropriately so considering we are talking about a carnivore initially linked to the very active predators of the Velociraptorinae. The Saurornitholestinae subfamily is not a trio (Atrociraptor, Bambiraptor, and Saurornitholestes) of gentle herbivores, but it is not as often associated with the violent carnage that the name Velociraptor tends to evoke. The other side of the coin is a carnivore that hunts to survive and does so without the savagery iconic to other images of dromaeosaurs; all hunting and killing by carnivores has some level of carnage and savagery in it. This brings me to the point of mentioning the facial features of this interpretation of Atrociraptor. Atrociraptor tends to be very similar in most illustrations. The typical body features of a dromaeosaur are seen here; large pes claw, open wrists, feathered body, and stiffened tail to mention a few. The face is the only material known and is scaled on the muzzle and feathered posterior to that, as would be expected in a contemporary illustration. The eyes are large and capable of facing forward. The thing that is the most striking in this image is the upward turn of the jawline. It is almost as if it is smiling as it runs some morsel down. Take a moment and think about that.

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