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Pyroraptor is the first positively identified member of the dromaeosaurid (raptor) family found in Europe. This was a small, fast hunter that lived near the end of the age of dinosaurs. The specimen is known from only a few bones (which were discovered after a forest fire), but they are enough to give scientists a good idea of what this little dinosaur would have looked like. Some paleontologists believe it would have closely resembled the small, bird-like dinosaurs recently discovered in China.

Pyroraptor was found associated with fossils representing a number of other creatures, including the iguanodont Rhabdodon, a nodosaur Struthiosaurus, a titanosaur Ampelosaurus and Titanosaurus, a ceratopsian, the abelisaurid Tarascosaurus and some Late Cretaceous reptiles.

The origin of the dromaeosaurs has long been debated. A number of prominent scientists believe they originated in North America, possibly the area that was adjacent to Europe in the very Early Cretaceous.[1]

There has been scientific debate whether Pyroraptor is a juvenile specimen of another dromaeosaur that lived alongside it, Variraptor, although the two dromaeosaur species had differing ulnas. There is also debate on which subfamily Pyroraptor belonged to within dromaeosauridae; some have classified it as a dromaeosaurine, velociraptorine, or a unenlagiine (a subfamily of dromaeosaurids sometimes classified to be their own distinct group closer to birds). However, this currently remains unclear until more specimens are discovered.

Characteristics[]

The cloned Pyroraptor measures 2.43 meters (8 feet) in length, 1.69 meters (3.57 feet) in height, and weighs 190 pounds, making it slightly smaller than Atrociraptor and Velociraptor, but larger than its natural ancestor. Its primary coloration is red, with gray gradations extending to the peripheral regions of its limbs, body, and caudal fan, and its skin is covered in gray scales. Distinguishing features include ridges on its rostrum, slit-shaped eyes, and a crest of red feathers on the occipital region. The Pyroraptor is predominantly feathered, with exceptions including its facial region, ventral surface, and distal portions of its limbs. As a semi-aquatic species, it primarily inhabits the ice-covered lake, utilizing its limbs to propel itself through the water with remarkable agility.

Behavioral

The Pyroraptor has been observed inhabiting the snowy regions of the sanctuary, exhibiting solitary behavior, although the presence of others in the area is uncertain. Despite its relatively small size, it has demonstrated remarkable aggression, targeting two adult humans on a frozen lake. Initially prepared to charge, the Pyroraptor hesitated when the ice cracked, revealing a hole. It then adapted its strategy, diving into the water to swim beneath the ice, likely waiting for the frozen surface to weaken further before attacking its prey. When one of the humans, Owen, fell into the water, the Pyroraptor initially retreated, creating distance, before charging back towards him. Notably, the Pyroraptor has demonstrated its ability to swim underwater for several minutes, subsequently emerging from the water to continue its pursuit of the humans on the ice. This behavior showcases its remarkable adaptability and predatory prowess in both aquatic and terrestrial environments.

History[]

Jurassic World: Dominion[]

"Nope!"
Kayla Watts when the Pyroraptor dove through the ice and into the water(src)

Pyroraptor was cloned by Biosyn and released to live within their sanctuary, where at least one individual lived atop the frozen lake held behind the valley's dam. After Owen Grady and Kayla Watts crashed landed into the lake, they encountered the Pyroraptor as they attempted to move towards the dam. The Pyroraptor slowly moved towards the pair, but as the ice cracked further beneath their weight it used a hole within the ice to dive underwater, circling them at first and pursuing them when they ran. During the pursuit, Owen fell through a hole in the ice, but before the Pyroraptor could reach him Kayla managed to pull him out. With that the Pyroraptor burst from the hole and attempted to run down Kayla and Owen, with all three climbing onto a walkway on the dam and racing towards an elevator. Owen and Kayla managed to get into the elevator and shut it on the Pyroraptor, who clawed at the door even after being tazed by Kayla and the elevator beginning its descent.

Following the Biosyn incident and the area itself being declared a sanctuary, it is possible that other Pyroraptor are in the sanctuary as well as out in the world somewhere.

Gallery[]

Promotional Images[]

Jurassic World: Dominion[]

Trivia[]

  • The red colour of the Pyroraptor's feathers could be a reference or is influenced by Pod the Pyroraptor from the four-part documentary series Dinosaur Planet.
    • It's colouring also brings to mind Fawkes the Phoenix from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, perhaps because phoenixes are associated with fire and Pyroraptor means "fire thief".
  • The Pyroraptor's bare face, with pink and dark skin, is reminiscent of the Northern bald ibis.
  • The Pyroraptor is the fourth predator in the cinematic franchise who's shown to swim in order to hunt its prey, predated by the Spinosaurus, the Mosasaurus and the Nothosaurus, as well as the second dinosaur who could do so.
  • For the Pyroraptor, the sound effects of wild cats (such as a leopard and a mountain lion) can be heard most of the time.
  • The gender of Pyroraptor is never mentioned or spoken of in the film. But in the Dinosaur infomation book of Jurassic World: Dominion, Pyroraptor is referred to with a female pronoun.

Behind the Scenes[]

Jurassic World: Dominion's visual effects supervisor at ILM, Dan Snape, knew early on there were going to be feathered dinosaurs and had his team start looking at a new feather system that would be flexible, efficient, and creative enough to change. Once the script landed, Dan spoke with David Vickery, the senior visual effects supervisor and production visual effects supervisor on Jurassic World: Dominion, and was informed on the environmental challenges that would accompany the Pyroraptor's scene. ILM had previously had challenges with feathers, such as being unable to iterate them quickly. In order to more efficiently do this, the new feather system allowed the groom artists to quickly scatter place guides for the quills across the model. The artists could then assign the types of feathers they wanted onto the place guides they were needed in.

The feathers themselves were created with a system that created the quill and then added barbules along either side of it, the artists could then break them up and shape them to create proxy geometry when needed, and then create a texture and propagate it along the feather where needed. These feathers were then saved for use in other departments and on other areas of the model. Multiple different feather types were used for the Pyroraptor, including the large feather crest on its head, traditional wing feathers, and softer downy feathers between the joints. From there, they had to discuss how the feathers would interact with each other, and built an automatic detangling system, which separated the feathers and settled them on the animal's back to give it a flat feather look.

When discussing the silhouette of the dinosaur, they referenced birds, which would have body parts that are noticeably sleeker than other areas which were more "fluffed up". In line with this, the team built a "flattening zone" into the feather system to flatten and push the curvature of the feathers. This allowed them to get less gaps between the feathers and quickly generate a greyscale feahter version to present for feedback.

The environmental effects were a big challenge for ILM, and was left to the FX department. Water covering the feathers was another challenge, so the team took reference from birds and seals exiting the water to see how water forms over them as they did so. The feather system was adjusted accordingly with these references to show the moments of meniscus water breaking and spraying.[2]

In order to reference how lighting and weather would affect the Pyroraptor, John Nolan Studios created a reference of the Pyroraptor's head, first by building a sculpt of the head and then creating thousands of feathers, hand dying them, and then woven into a net that stretched over the silicon skin of the model. The day the Pyroraptor's scene was filmed, it was very windy and many of the feathers twisted around, which John commended as something likely to happen in real life.[3]

References[]

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