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Atrociraptor (Wikimedia Commons)


Atrociraptor (Greek for "cruel thief"); pronounced ah-TROSS-ih-rap-tore


Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 3 feet long and 20 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; short snout with backward-curving teeth


About Atrociraptor:

It's amazing how a mere name can color our view of a long-extinct dinosaur. For all intents and purposes, Atrociraptor was very similar to Bambiraptor--both were puny, albeit dangerous, raptors with sharp teeth and ripping hind claws--but judging by their names you'd probably want to pet the latter and run away from the former. Whatever the case, Atrociraptor was certainly deadly for its size, as demonstrated by its backward-curving teeth--the only conceivable function of which would have been to tear off jagged chunks of meat (and prevent live prey from escaping).

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