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How Dinosaurs Attacked

An expert shares how some of the predatory creatures stalked their prey.

  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5

The following questions were answered by dinosaur expert Don Lessem.

 

Q: Would a dinosaur eat us if it were alive today?
A: If dinosaurs were alive today, some would try to eat us, but most would be plant-eaters. I think we could outsmart the nasty ones and probably outrun most of them! 

Q: How did velociraptors attack?
A: Because Velociraptors were equipped with huge toe and finger claws, light bodies, and strong legs, so they were probably able to leap into the air and slash with their hands and feet. They may have hunted in packs but we have no evidence of that. —  we only have the suggestion from fossils of several individuals around a kill that its bigger cousin Deinonychus did hunt in packs. The larger raptors probably couldn't leap to slash, they would have had to stand on one leg to kick with the other, while the lightly built Velociraptor was more like the Karate Kid. 

Q: Did the T-Rex pounce on his prey?
A: Scientists think that T. rex was, like most meat-eaters, a scavenger most of the time. That means it ate mostly things already dead. It could kill most anything it wanted, but it didn't pounce. T. rex weighed seven tons or more, and that's kind of heavy to do any jumping, unless you want to land with a broken leg.

Q: When travelling in packs, could deinonychuses kill any other dinosaur?
A: Dienonychus may well have been a pack hunter. It was discovered in what now appears to have been a pack of at least six that were killed by a tenontosaurus, a much bigger animal, that it may have hunted down. 

  • Subjects:
    Archaeology, Dinosaurs, Paleontology and Fossils, Scientists and Human Endeavor, Animal Survival and Adaptation
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