My son is 7. Which means he’s obsessed with dinosaurs. Which means that he was in 7-year-old heaven when the new Jurassic World movie came out. Given that he has a really great grasp of “it’s just a movie using robots and special effect”–we watched behind the scenes on the original, because he wanted to know how they made the T-Rex–we took him to the theaters to see it.
Now, “every day is velociraptor day!” around here. Rowyn has “practiced a really long time” to perfect what he calls his “raptor run.” And his raptor hiss. And his raptor…everything. So naturally, he has made me look up all this stuff many, many times too. 😉
Most recently he was wondering which word came first–velociraptor or raptor as applied to eagles, hawks, falcons, etc.
As it turns out, raptor is straight from the Latin word of the same spelling, a noun form of the verb rapere–to steal. So it’s quite literally “a thief.” The word entered the English language round about 1600. It wasn’t, however, applied to the class of birds until 1873.
The first fossil of a velociraptor was discovered in 1923 and named in 1924; it was called “speed thief” (velocity + raptor) because scientists believed it was a very swift, if small, carnivore.