Yesterday on Tor.com’s Facebook and Twitter portals, we asked all of our friends, fans, and followers which dinosaur of all the prehistoric lizards was their favorite. And it looks like those sly sickle-clawed velociraptors came out on top! Some of us here in the office are big fans of the stegosaurus, and as such, are slinking away in defeat with our spiked tails between our legs.
There were some interesting twists in the dinosaur poll, complete with a second place win from The Rolling Stones. (Note: The Rolling Stones were not initially an option on our Facebook Poll, but rather, added by one of our followers.) However, we were left wondering, when all of you voted for the velociraptor; were you voting for the real dinosaur or its pop culture counterpart made famous by Jurassic Park? Read on to discover the various definitions of a velociraptor as well as other highlights from the Dinosaur Poll!
According to various articles, the size of the velociraptors depicted in Jurassic Park is considerably larger than the actual dinosaur, which was only about 6 feet long and 1 foot tall. The larger, taller dino depicted in popular media is more similar in shape and size to the raptor’s cousin, the deinonychus.
However, at least one taxonomy of dinosaurs considers the deinonychus to be a subset of velociraptors with the deinonychus being given the name Velociraptor antirrhopus by paleontology author Gregory Paul. So if a deinonychus is a raptor, then it’s all good, right? Well not necessarily, because the raptors in Jurassic Park don’t actually look like ANY real dinosaur. If the creatures we see in Jurassic Park are deinonychuses (Velociraptor antirrhopus) then their heads are far too narrow. But if they are the “traditional” raptors (Velociraptor mongoliensis) then they’re about five feet too tall!
So perhaps we’ve made up our own idea of what a “velociraptor” and that creation is the dino that we so revere. After all, many still believe a “brontosaurus” is a real dinosaur, even though the name was semi-officially retired in the 1970s. (However some paleontologists still maintain brontosaurus is an acceptable synonym for the apatosaurus.)
Other dinosaurs making strong showings in our favorite Dinosaurs Poll were the triceratops, and tyrannosaurus rex. Over on Twitter, there were several shout-outs for Nessie the Plesiosaurus. Though technically not a dinosaur, we are big Nessie fans here at Tor.com!
In honor of all the dinosaurs we miss so much, here are The Rolling Stones with “I’m Not Waiting on a Lady, I’m Just Waiting on a Friend.” The dinosaurs are sort of like those friends we wish would come back, right?
Velociraptor bicycle image copyright Lori Zawada, used with permission.
Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com. Stubby would like to reassert that while Stubby was in the solar system during that whole dinosaur mass extinction thing, Stubby had nothing to do with it and can’t verify nudging the asteriod one bit.