Did you know that Utah has an official dinosaur? It’s called the Utahraptor. Check out these facts about this fascinating creature.
1. The Utahraptor was discovered in 1991.
Paleontologist Jim Kirkland and his crew unearthed remains of an unknown dinosaur near Moab—a dinosaur that would come to be known as the Utahraptor.
2. The Utahraptor is the largest raptor ever discovered.
Experts estimate that adult Utahraptors measured between 20 and 25 feet long and weighed anywhere from 600 pounds to 2,000 pounds. It is twice the size of the famous Velociraptor.
3. The Utahraptor lived about 125 million years ago.
Utahraptors lived during the early Cretaceous period. They are believed to have been feather-covered carnivores that had 9.5-inch sickle-shaped claws on their hind feet that were used to attack its prey. They are also thought to have traveled in packs, allowing them to hunt dinosaurs much larger than themselves.
4. A new state park bears the creature’s name.
On March 11, 2021, Utah lawmakers passed a bill to create Utahraptor State Park about 15 miles north of Moab, where several 100-million-year-old skeletons of the creature have been discovered. Folks interested in seeing the Utahraptor can visit exhibits at the Natural History Museum of Utah, the BYU Museum of Paleontology, and the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum.
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