‘Jurassic Park was wrong’ as scientists claim raptors didn’t hunt in packs

Jurassic Park shows raptors hunting in packs (Universal)Jurassic Park shows raptors hunting in packs (Universal) Velociraptors are one of the most recognisable dinosaur species thanks to their role in the Jurassic Park film franchise.

But new research suggests that unlike in the films, raptors didn’t hunt in packs.

New evidence suggests the prehistoric predators hunted solo, similar to modern Komodo dragons or crocodiles.

Joseph Frederickson, a vertebrate paleontologist and director of the Weis Earth Science Museum on the  University of Wisconsin Oshkosh  Fox Cities campus, said: ‘Raptorial dinosaurs often are shown as hunting in packs similar to wolves.’

‘The evidence for this behaviour, however, is not altogether convincing. Since we can’t watch these dinosaurs hunt in person, we must use indirect methods to determine their behaviour in life.

The idea of pack-hunting raptors came from paleontologist John Ostrom. Ostrom described the dinos as travelling in packs and using teamwork to take down much larger prey.

‘The problem with this idea is that living dinosaurs (birds) and their relatives (crocodilians) do not usually hunt in groups and rarely ever hunt prey larger than themselves,’ Frederickson explained.

‘Further, behavior like pack hunting does not fossilize so we can’t directly test whether the animals actually worked together to hunt prey.’

An artist’s impression of what a velociraptor actually looked like (Getty) He and his team are now proposing raptors behaved more like modern-day Komodo dragons or crocodiles, in that individuals may attack the same prey but not in a coordinated fashion.

‘We proposed in this study that there is a correlation between pack hunting and the diet of animals as they grow,’ Frederickson said.

When looking at Komodo dragons, adults tend to consume offspring.

The young creatures hide in trees where they find an abundance of food that their parents are unable to access.

And Frederickson noted that animals who hunt in packs do not have a diverse diet.

‘If we can look at the diet of young raptors versus old raptors, we can come up with a hypothesis for whether they hunted in groups,’ he said.

Stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen were used to get an idea of diet and water sources for these animals,’ Frederickson explained.

‘We also looked at a crocodilian and an herbivorous dinosaur from the same geologic formation.’

Fossilised remains of velociraptor front legs (Getty Images) The scientists found that the Cretaceous crocodilians, like modern species, show a difference in diet between the smallest and largest teeth, indicating a distinct transition in diet as they grew.

‘This is what we would expect for an animal where the parents do not provide food for their young,’ Frederickson said. 

‘We also see the same pattern in...