Utahraptor (Utah’s hunter)

Short Info

Utahraptor (Utah's hunter)

Phonetic : You-tah-rap-tor.

Named By : James Kirkland, Robert Gaston, & Donald Burge – 1993

Diet : Carnivore

Size : Estimated 5.5 – 7 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Large Theropod

Type Species : U. ostrommaysi (type)

Found in : USA, Utah – Cedar Mountain Formation

When it Lived : Early Cretaceous, 112-100 million years ago

The Utahraptor (meaning “Utah’s predator”) is a genus belonging to a the large dromaeosaurid dinosaurs that was found throughout North America during the Early Cretaceous period. It was a large-bodied bipedal carnivore that was ground-dwelling. It is comprised of one kind, Utahraptor ostrommaysi, which is the most well-known species of the family of Dromaeosauridae.


BYU Utahraptor skeletal mountJaren Wilkey, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Initial specimens of Utahraptor were discovered during the year 1975, through Jim Jensen in the Dalton Wells Quarry in east-central Utah near the city of Moab However, they didn’t get much attention. Following the discovery of a huge foot-claw in the hands of Carl Limone in October 1991, James Kirkland, Robert Gaston along with Donald Burge uncovered further remains of Utahraptor during 1991 at the Gaston Quarry in Grand County, Utah, within the Yellow Cat and Poison Strip members of the Cedar Mountain Formation. The Holotype, CEU 184v.86, is located at the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum but Brigham Young University, the repository of Jensen’s findings is currently home to the largest collections of fossils from Utahraptors.

The species that is the most common, Utahraptor ostrommaysi, was named by Kirkland, Gaston, and Burge in June 1993. The name genus Utahraptor refers to Utah which is where the remains of the bird were found. The particular name, ostrommaysi, is in honor of John Ostrom for his investigations into Deinonychus and bird connections, as well as Chris Mays, who helped in the study of Utahraptor through the creation of Dinamation. Prior to that, it was thought to give the species the name “U. spielbergi” after the director of films Steven Spielberg, in exchange for the funding of paleontological research but there was no agreement reached over what amount to be given in financial aid.

Thiago Vernaschi Thiago Vernaschi. Costa as well as David Normand in 2019 criticized the usage of the name species U. Ostrommaysorum because there is no proof or explanation. Even though this spelling was extensively utilized by other authors, the name Utahraptor was first coined by the species of type U. ostrommaysi and given that the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature provides no way of forming an genitive form from two individuals with names that differ, Costa and Normand conclude that the spelling ostrommaysi is to be considered as an arbitrary mix of letters and is not an accurately formed genitive name. In this way, ostrommaysorum has no valid usage and the original spelling ostrommaysi doesn’t require an amendment. Other alternatives and in some cases, incorrect spellings were employed in scientific publications for example, ostromaysi Ostromaysorum and the ostrommaysori.

Source: Wikipedia