Fun Dracoraptor Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Nov 29, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Sep 27, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Discover interesting Dracoraptor facts including details about its specimen, discovery, fossil remains, length, feet, partial skull, skeleton, tooth, and tail.

Would you like to read about the oldest Jurassic dinosaur? This article will tell you everything you need to know about it!

Dracoraptor is an extinct genus of Theropod dinosaurs that lived during the Early Jurassic Period, in Wales. The first Dracoraptor fossils were discovered in March 2014 by fossil-hunting brothers Nick and Rob Hanigan, near the Blue Lias Formation of the United Kingdom.

The duo stumbled upon its remains while they were looking for ichthyosaur remains at Lavernock Point.

They found several stone plates embedded with dinosaur fossils fallen off a high cliff, near a large cape south of Cardiff. The very next year a student named Sam Davies, also found foot bones belonging to the species.

In 2012, researchers British paleontologists David Martill and his team invited the brothers who originally discovered the fossils to name the dinosaur. The name Dracoraptor is Welsh and means 'dragon thief'.

The type species was named Dracoraptor hanigani, by British paleontologists David Martill, Steven Vidovic, John Nudds, and Cindy Howells.

Steven Vidovic also stated that Dracoraptor is the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur, and its discovery helped paleontologists fill in some gaps about the dinosaurs and creatures that survived the Triassic extinction event and everything that followed after. Later, the remains of this fascinating creature were donated to the National Museum Wales.

Learn about some other pre-historic creatures from our Eotyrannus facts and Europasaurus facts pages.

Dracoraptor Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Dracoraptor'?

The word Dracoraptor is pronounced as 'draco-rap-tor'. It is driven from the Latin word ‘draco', which means dragon, it is a reference made to the dragon on the Welsh flag, and the word raptor is added to its name because the species is believed to have foraging habits similar to that of raptors and other Theropod dinosaurs.

What type of dinosaur was a Dracoraptor?

Dracoraptor hanigani classification is as follows - kingdom: Animalia; phylum: Chordata class: Sauropsida; clade: Dinosauria; superorder: Theropoda; genus: Dracoraptor. In 2016 a cladistic analysis confirmed that Dracoraptor was a basal member, and was positioned under Neotheropod dinosaurs at the bottom of the evolutionary tree.

It is considered to be the basalmost Coelophysoid from Great Britain. Some scientists believe that Dracoraptor hanigani (dragon robber) lived about 200 million years ago, and is a distant relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

In which geological period did the Dracoraptor roam the earth?

This Theropod dinosaur lived during the Early Jurassic period.

When did the Dracoraptor become extinct?

Dracoraptor was one of the few creatures to survive the extinction event at the end of the Triassic period, this event is also known as the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event. During the event, roughly half of Earth's species were wiped out during this era.

Where did a Dracoraptor live?

It lived in Wales, as fossils belonging to this dinosaur were discovered by two fossil-hunting brothers- Nick and Rob Hanigan, on a beach in Wales in 2014.

In 2015, a student, Sam Davies, from the University of Portsmouth found a fossilized foot belonging to an individual in the same location, it is believed that Dracoraptor was swept out to sea and was fossilized in marine sediment ashore.

What was a Dracoraptor's habitat?

Information about its ecology is limited but researchers call this dinosaur a 'shore-dwelling predator and scavenger'. It was often in search of new hunting grounds, its habitat changed according to its survival needs.

It is believed that South Wales during the Early Jurassic was a coastal area and had a warm sea with several islands, it is now known as Lavernock Point

Who did a Dracoraptor live with?

Paleontologists speculate that they were solitary, or lived in small groups with two or three members.

How long did a Dracoraptor live?

The life span of this dinosaur is unknown however, Theropod dinosaurs, in general, were believed to have a life span of 26 or 32 years.

How did they reproduce?

They reproduced via sexual reproduction. Males would release their sperm inside females, who would later lay fertilized eggs containing developing dinosaur embryos in nests, which were built by digging burrows in the soil.

Dracoraptor Fun Facts

What did a Dracoraptor look like?

Dracoraptor (dragon thief) was a bipedal dinosaur similar to various other predatory dinosaurs.

The species had a long and narrow skull, sharp claws, and long legs, but these characteristics were not exclusive or unique, therefore further studies were conducted which established some distinguishing traits for Dracoraptor, they are as follows- a unique basal trait where its praemaxillae carried only three teeth, the frontal jugal branch was fairly thin, its external nostril was large and bony, its pubic bone was relatively loner than its ischium.

How many bones did a Dracoraptor have?

The remains recovered made up about 40% of the dinosaur's skeleton, including its partial skull, claws, foot bones, teeth, and an almost complete skeleton.

Now, this next part will look intimidating, but the more you know the better, right?

The holotype specimen consists of both praemaxillae, which is the frontal upper jawbones, both maxillae, which is the main upper jaw bone, fragments of the lower jaw, two cervical vertebrae (bones from the neck and its back), cervical ribs, a lacrimal, a jugal, a squamosal, lower parts of the left forelimb, a left ischium, a right femur, calf and ankle bones, a furcula (wishbone), a partial skull, and several teeth.

The Dracoraptor is considered the most complete Mesozoic non-avian Theropod dinosaur known from Wales.

How did they communicate?

Communication among pre-historic creatures is still a mystery but many scientists over the past decades have come up with several theories that suggest possible ways these animals communicated, some put forth the theory of vocalizations and that these ferocious beasts engaged in dialogue by producing calls, hoots, cracking sounds, body movements, and symbolic love calls during the mating season.

How big was a Dracoraptor?

Even though the fossil discovered in Wales belonged to a juvenile it measured 6.9 ft (2.1 m) in length, with a hip height of 28 in (70 cm). Paleontologists speculate that adults may have been at least 9.8 ft (3 m) long.

How fast could a Dracoraptor move?

The exact speed rate of the species is unknown. However, they are known to be great hunters and thus many believe that they had an incredible speed.

How much did a Dracoraptor weigh?

These dinosaurs weighed around 60 lb (27.2 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The female species are called saura, whereas the males are called saurus.

What would you call a baby Dracoraptor?

A young dinosaur can be referred to as a hatchling.

What did they eat?

They were meat-eating dinosaurs and followed a carnivore's diet. They preyed on small vertebrate animals, and young hatchings.

How aggressive were they?

Well, they were not exactly peaceful but they were not brave or feisty enough to pick fights either.

Did you know...

The suffix 'raptor' was added to the species name because of its feeding habits and according to Martill, 'it was added because it sounded cool.' This species is not related to Dromaeosaurs like Velociraptors in any way.

The discovery of this dinosaur made history, and its fossils are on display at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff.

Did the Dracoraptor have sharp teeth?

Dracoraptor had jagged (zig-zag patterned) and pointed teeth, indicating it was a carnivore or meat-eater, its teeth were quite small and were about 0.3 in (1 cm) long.

Dracoraptor size comparison

A juvenile dinosaur measured 6.9 ft (2.1 m) in length, and scientists suggest that adults probably were 9.8 ft (3 m) long, in comparison to modern-day animals these creatures were the same height as ostriches, and as long as American alligators! They are larger than humans.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Nipponosaurus fun facts, or Regaliceratops facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Dracoraptor coloring pages.


Main image by Levi Bernardo.

Second image by David M. Martill, Steven U. Vidovic, Cindy Howells, and John R. Nudds.

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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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