Dromaeosaurs and Deinonychosaurs, the beasts we refer to as “Raptors”, are among the scariest animals to have ever walked the Earth. But did you know that they also disprove Creationism in really scary, murderous ways? Examining the horrible methods of these feathery fiends, a logical person can see graphically violent demonstrations against the fallacious reasoning of Young Earth Creationism. So strap on your adult diapers and prepare to be educated by some of the most heinous serial killers of the Mesozoic.
Dinosaurs! WTF? has covered Deinonychus before, but we failed to cover one of the Deinonychus’ nastiest hunting behaviors. See, Creationists like to argue that wings held no evolutionary advantage before they were capable of flight. Not only is this assertion wrong, it also fails to appreciate the pure murderous tenacity of nature. Wings, even in a pre-flight stage, are incredibly useful to lithe carnivores like Deinonychus for a nasty behavior called “mantling”.
Mantling is when a raptor (and including the modern raptors) digs its killing claws into a larger prey animal (say a deer or a protoceratops or you) and then rides them into the ground like a mechanical bull at a cheap steakhouse. Proto-wings are incredibly useful for the carnivore’s balance in this practice. Being able to mantle a larger animal protects the attacker from retaliation, and drives the killing claws into the vital organs and blood vessels. Modern birds use this for the same reasons, as well as to keep others from stealing small prey.
Deinonychus, an animal roughly the size of a tiger, likely used its proto-wings in exactly this manner. This gave animals who were not gliders an advantage in developing wings. The origins of flight are murder. Are you surprised? Really?
Archeroraptor is on this list because it shows just how far adaptability can progress. Archeroraptor displays numerous evolutionary adaptations as well as evidence for cross continental migration. Far from being “designed”, this is an animal that was constantly adapting up until the major extinction event that freed Earth from the Age of Dinosaurs.
To fit into the ecosystem in which it was discovered, Archeroraptor’s ancestors would have had to migrate from Asia (it was discovered in Montana.) This was a feathered, flightless animal with proto-wings that had adapted to serve it in a niche alongside the likes of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and other late cretaceous heavy hitters.
Its prey was likely small mammals, carrion, bugs, and other small dinosaurs. It was specialized in eating our mammalian ancestors, and it was a close relative of Velociraptor. Basically, if evolution wasn’t the origin of this species, there is no reason why it would exist. So Creationists probably think Satan put the fossils in Montana, which honestly is the most believable part of Young Earth Creationism.
Dromaeosaurus was a different kind of raptor from the others in the lightweight class, such as Velociraptor and Saurornitholestes. Adaptation requires animals to specialize differently than their close relatives if they are going to live concurrently, kind of like how you can’t be a famous actress because while you are certainly pretty and talented, your sister is prettier and more talented and already has an agent so thank God you are good at math.
Dromaeosaurus was built to hunt with its jaws just as efficiently as its killing claws. Its teeth and jaws were heavier and more suited to dealing killing blows than the other raptors, and its neck was strong and flexible. It had highly developed eyesight and could also hunt by smell.
That’s evolution for you. These Tyrannosaurus-like traits allowed it to fill a different niche than its cousins. Of course, this niche still involved murder. That’s just how raptors roll. You don’t start finding vegetarian philosophy major raptors until you get into the weirdos of the family like maniraptors like Therizinosaurus or Segnosaurus. And frankly, I have my doubts about their intentions.
This deadly raptor would have made Darwin very worried about his discoveries on Galapagos. Balaur was a raptor confined to an island. Raptors, being relatively small compared to other dinosaurs, were well suited to become peak predators on islands. Small animals tend to thrive in smaller environments. But how is a knife wielding nut-job raptor supposed to get a “leg up” on the other crumb-bum knife wielding nutters?
Balaur’s evolutionary adaptation was simple. Carry more knives. Double the knives, in fact. Balaur had not one, but two huge retractable buck-knife claws on each foot. During an ancient era where every creature was carrying heat, this beast developed even more heat. It was the banana republic drug lord of the age of dinosaurs. The island couldn’t support a bigger predator, but surely it could find room for more weaponry, right?
Yes. It could. And nature would reward those who carried more weapons with progeny.
Remember, according to Creationism, this was a peaceful herbivore before the flood. Bullshit.
“Oh, what are you doing with all those knives, Balaur?” Noah would have asked.
“Oh gee, Noah, I’m just paring vegetables for everyone. Totally not murdering small prey in droves to feed my absurdly numerous brood of slasher movie villains.”
In the early Cretaceous, the Allosaurs were becoming much less prominent and the Tyrannosaurs had not yet figured out their business plan. So there was a slight lack of animals trying to eat the later members of the giant Sauropod clique.
One of the earliest raptors ever discovered, Utahraptor was built to be a Sauropod killing machine. Unlike its later cousins, Utahraptor was big and powerful, over 19 feet long, with leg bones twice the thickness of Deinonychus. It had longer claws than the other raptors, scaled for comparison, but by far the nastiest advantage it had was its killing claw.
The killing claw on Utahraptor was 14 inches long and curved less inward than the claws of later raptors. This was a long slashing weapon, longer than a bowie knife, longer than a dagger.
Utahraptor was a pack hunter that excelled at bringing down dinosaurs like Sauroposeiden, a larger relative of Brachiosaurus that was 100 feet long.
Of course, Young Earth Creationism wants you to think that this creature lived around the same time as Sophocles. Try to imagine Sophocles trying to write “Oedipus Rex”, and not mentioning that Utahraptors were a serious problem.
When the ruling king had fallen in this way,
what bad trouble blocked your path, preventing you
from looking into it?
It was the fucking Utahraptors—
Are you serious right now? Everywhere we go
to put aside something we found obscure
there are like thirty Utahraptors gouging faces.
YEAH I REALLY BET NO ONE WOULD HAVE MENTIONED UTAHRAPTORS.