Jurassic Park: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Velociraptor Behavior On Site B
The behavior of the Velociraptors of Jurassic Park varies significantly on the infamous Site B. What exactly makes these other raptors so unique?
When Jurassic Park came on the scene in 1993, audiences were in awe of what they saw in this tropical island theme park. Much like how John Hammond forged new paths for genetic engineering, Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg had pushed the boundaries of special effects to bring living, breathing dinosaurs to the big screen. Viewers never thought they would experience anything like it again.
Little did they know that, on top of Isla Nublar, Hammond had a second installation on Isla Sorna. Unfortunately (or fortunately), a hurricane wiped out the enclosures here, allowing the animals to run free. This inevitably leads some to exhibit different behavior than their enclosed counterparts. Among the most noticeable examples is the Velociraptor, the swift and sharp predator hailed as one of the smartest dinosaurs out there. These pack hunters already terrified viewers in the first film, but those on Site B come with several key differences that make them even more efficient as killers, even among the Spielberg pantheon.
10 - They Don't Kill Each Other... Or Do They?
In the first film, game warden Muldoon explains that they originally bred eight raptors. By the time that movie's events unfold, they only have three left. The large female killed the rest. In addition, these supposedly intelligent dinosaurs routinely snap at each other without provocation. By contrast, the raptors on Isla Sorna operate in large packs. The Lost World and Jurassic Park III show groups of six to eight members. The infighting of their predecessors is virtually nonexistent. Maybe it's true what they say: one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch.
The Lost World novel by Michael Crichton paints a different picture, however. Velociraptors on Site B killed for the pleasure of killing. Their murderous streak wasn't reserved only for enemies but also for unruly pack members. The book presented the idea of a "psychosis" of sorts, which Dr. Ian Malcolm elaborated on. He explains that, since the animals weren't raised by caring parents, and instead within a lab, they don't display structured pack behavior, nor understand the importance of its preservation.
In fact, Dr. Sarah Harding witnessed a brutal example up close. She spotted a pack violently tearing apart a carcass and a small juvenile barely able to share in the meal. When the youngling finally managed to push its way through and snag a bite, one of the adults quickly put it down, making it a side dish.
9 - They Lay Eggs
Despite the fact that all the dinosaurs were bred as females, Alan Grant discovers a clutch of eggs as he wanders Isla Nublar, deducing that their frog DNA allowed them to change sexes to adapt. However, the raptors in the first film don't get out of their cage until the third act, and they can barely get along, let alone breed.
Luckily, the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna had plenty of time to procreate. In Jurassic Park III, the characters stumble on several groups of raptor eggs in a nesting area. The animals have clearly followed their instinct to reproduce, which ensures their species endures.
8 - They Run Away From A Tough Fight
When confronted by something dangerous or unfamiliar, animals have a flight-or-flight response. Flight is usually the safer option, especially for those that aren't at the top of the food chain. The captive raptors in Jurassic Park presumably never learned this, with one of them even challenging a T-rex toward the end.
On the other hand, Site B's raptors have lived in the wild for a while. They've had time to cultivate their survival instincts within the ecosystem. They know they're not the big boys in town. So, when they sense potential threats, such as a gas bomb or the sound of a helicopter, they'd rather retreat to preserve their numbers. Call them chickens if you want. At least they live to hunt another day.
Alternatively, leaked concept art for The Lost World showed a scene in which raptors chase down an individual on a motorcycle. It proved that, even faced with something unfamiliar, they would still engage in a fight until it proved to be too much.
7 - They Probably Don't Use Their Feathers For Anything
Even during the original Jurassic Park trilogy, the idea of dinosaurs as feathered animals was already coming into fashion. It was a focal point of the first film. As such, Jurassic Park III pays homage to these discoveries by giving some raptors a batch of quills on their heads. They're not as prominent as in ARK, but they're still visible.
However, a visual nod is all these quills are good for. The raptors obviously can't use them to fly or glide; they can't make the raptors look bigger to intimidate other animals; and they're not prominent enough to be a tool for mating. Unless they emit some pheromone viewers don't know about, these things are just here to please any paleontologists in the audience.
6 - They Attack From An Elevated Position
The raptors on Site B seem to have a penchant for pouncing. This is possibly due to the fact that they're not enclosed in a cramped cage like their Site A peers, but it may also be another callback to their flying relatives.
Modern birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, naturally attack their targets from above. They'll dive bomb onto the animal and grab it with their talons, sometimes killing their quarry with the force. The raptors might prefer striking from a higher angle because of their evolutionary connection to these airborne predators. They may not be able to fly, but they sure can jump pretty high.
5 - They're More Organized
Alan Grant asserts that raptors were among the smartest dinosaurs to ever walk the Earth. However, the ones in the first film tend to barrel toward their targets without much thought for each other. They occasionally display their sharpness when they open doors and misdirect Muldoon, but their attacks mostly have the subtlety of a freight train and don't have much pack cooperation.
Those on Isla Sorna seem much more adept at hunting. They come up with complex maneuvers and use their environment to their advantage, such as when they covertly surround the humans in the tall grass. This shows a level of team coordination more in line with their reputation as pack hunters, unfortunately, for the herbivores. They've also given Turok fans many a headache for years.
4 - They Go Further Than Most Animals For Their Eggs
The animal kingdom is a cruel place. Not every creature has the same nurturing instincts, and many predators and scavengers get an easy snack by raiding nests or killing infants. When this happens, the parents generally abandon the lost offspring to focus on the remaining ones.
The raptors on Isla Sorna, however, don't take this sitting down. When Billy steals a couple of eggs in Jurassic Park III, the predators pursue the protagonists across the whole island. They even ignore other prey on offer, focused squarely on their rescue mission. Never say that they don't do anything for their kids. Too bad they never fought the Spinosaurus.
3 - They're Led By A Female
In some species, the female is naturally the dominant sex; they're more formidable and typically lead any groups that emerge. This trend pops up today in elephants, spiders, and several other animals.
It also appears to be the case with the raptors. In Jurassic Park III, the main female of the pack takes point when surrounding the characters. She's also seen barking orders to the rest of the group, telling them when to hold position or retreat. Viewers never have any illusions as to who's in charge.
2 - They're Sectioned Into Different Tribes
If viewers look past the running and screaming, they'll notice that the raptors in The Lost World and Jurassic Park III are slightly different. Their coloration is more orange in the former and darker in the latter. Plus, the third film gives them the aforementioned quills.
Isla Sorna is a big island, and viewers already know that InGen modified these animals' DNA. Jurassic World Evolution even lets players do this. The raptors probably sectioned themselves into different groups like lion prides or wolf packs, each with their own territory. The video game, Trespasser, may have been the first to establish Velociraptor tribes in canon. The known tribes include Tribe A (comprising of the "tiger stripe" raptors of the second film), along with Tribes B, C, and C Alpha (which have only appeared in the game). The quilled raptors from the third film could be a potential Tribe D. Why InGen was stupid enough to make this many raptors is anyone's guess.
1 - They Love Pranks
In Jurassic Park III, the characters explore the ruins of an InGen lab. It's here that viewers see several rundown containers, broken eggs, and corpses of animals that never made it to maturity. They encounter one fully-grown raptor specimen that's seemingly dead due to experimentation. Then, in a move straight out of Young Frankenstein, the predator springs to life and starts chasing the humans.
The raptors have never done this fake-out before or since. Considering how well-rehearsed it is, though, one has to assume that it's a regular tactic. The filmmakers probably only intended it as a cheap jump-scare, but it inadvertently paints these animals in a whole new light. If this is how they behave, viewers can never look at the raptors on either island the same way again. At least they're still more dignified than the Velocipastor.