2.4" Raptor (Acheroraptor?) Killing Claw - North Dakota

This is a very rare, and highly sought after raptor "killing claw" from the Hell Creek Formation of North Dakota. It was collected this past summer from our partners property near Bowman, North Dakota. It was found in a solid, sandstone layer and includes the original sandstone it was found on with the impression of the claw. The claw has been prepared out separately so that it can be displayed either on its own or resting on the sandstone.

The claw is 2.4" long using a straight-line measurement or 2.9" long around the curve. The tip of the claw has been restored, as it was naturally missing (broken before fossilization).

The claw is without a doubt Dromaesaurid. There are two dromaeosaurs described from the Hell Creek Formation, Acheroraptor (a velociraptorinae) and the much larger Dakotaraptor. While no claws were described from Acheroraptor, the size makes it the most likely candidate.

At first glance it looks like and hand claw, but it has several distinctive features that identify it as the "killing claw" on the hind foot. It is straighter (less curved) and the blood grooves are asymmetrical.

Popularly known as a "killing claw", these specially adapted claws are on the second digit of the hind feet on dromaesaurs. These claws were initially portrayed in Jurassic Park as being slashing devices allowing the dinosaur to quickly rip open its prey. More recent studies have shown that in reality they would have been rather ineffective for slashing and may have been used to help hold down prey or may have been useful for climbing.

Dromaesaurid (Acheroraptor?)
Bowman, North Dakota
Hell Creek Formation
2.4" (straight-line), 2.9" around curve, rock 7x4.3"
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