Dromaeosaurs - also called raptors - were carnivorous dinosaurs closely related to birds. Several fossils have been found with evidence of feathers, and many scientists believe that the whole group had an insulating covering of feathers. All dromaeosaurs have a large, sickle-shaped claw on each hind foot, which helped them climb. Small species probably climbed trees, but there is speculation that larger ones used their claws to cling on to prey and as weapons. Dromaeosaur species ranged from about 1.5 to 9 metres long.
Scientific name: Dromaeosauridae
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.
Dromaeosauridae is a family of bird-like theropod dinosaurs. They were small- to medium-sized feathered carnivores that flourished in the Cretaceous Period. The name Dromaeosauridae means 'running lizards', from Greek dromeus (δρομευς) meaning 'runner' and sauros (σαυρος) meaning 'lizard'. In informal usage they are often called raptors (after Velociraptor), a term popularized by the film Jurassic Park; a few types include the term "raptor" directly in their name and have come to emphasize their supposed bird-like habits.
Dromaeosaurid fossils have been found in North America, Europe, Africa, Japan, China, Mongolia, Madagascar, Argentina, and Antarctica. They first appeared in the mid-Jurassic Period (late Bathonian stage, about 164 million years ago) and survived until the end of the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian stage, 65.5 ma), existing for over 100 million years, up until the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. The presence of dromaeosaurs as early as the Middle Jurassic has been confirmed by the discovery of isolated fossil teeth, though no dromaeosaurid body fossils have been found from this period.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.