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I'm sure we can all agree that raptors are pretty cool (most dinosaurs are). But what I think would be really, really cool would be a rideable raptor. However, I don't know if this is possible. While I assume that raptors had pretty strong hind legs, I'm doubting whether they have the power to even stand with a human on their back, let alone run or jump.

So, based on what we know about raptors, assuming we got one and a human in a room together, alive, and the raptor was trained, could this be done? If not, could they at least make a fun kid's ride at the fair?

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    $\begingroup$ Velociraptors were pretty small actually, only about human-sized (which due to their posture means they were generally less than 2 feet tall at the shoulder). You may want to pick a different raptor that's closer in size to a horse, mounts need to be fairly large. $\endgroup$ – Dan Smolinske May 22 '15 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ @DanSmolinske I believe by Velociraptor OP meant raptors in general. Many people do not know there are multiple types of raptor. That problem could have probably been settled on Wikipedia $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat May 22 '15 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe the Utahraptor?? $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat May 22 '15 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ Note, that herbivores make much better mounts than carnivores. A polar bear could easily carry the weight of a human, but that doesn't make it a good mount. $\endgroup$ – vsz May 22 '15 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ I know this is a bit of a older question, but I thought I'd add that a somewhat recent (last year) discovery of a bunch of Utahraptors that died in the same place has shown that Utahs in particular were much more muscular than previously thought. So, maybe riding one (assuming you could manage to tame it, which would probably be a miracle in itself), might not be that far fetched, at least in theory. $\endgroup$ – TheTimeVoyager Jan 26 '18 at 1:23
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Oryginal question was about velociraptor. Then, strictly speaking, no. But raptor, probably.

What's a velociraptor?

Thanks largely to Jurassic Park, "Velociraptor" has come into common use to represent smart, human-killing pack hunters. Sadly, Velociraptor proper is about the size of a turkey, so you could never ride one. The name was used to refer to a different, much larger Dromeosaur, Deinonychus. Reportedly the studio felt that "Deinonychus" would be too hard for audiences to read and correctly pronounce. (Opinion: They were probably right about that.)

Raptor-ish saurids size

Even the Deinonychus was nowhere near big enough for a human to ride. However, there were other dinosaurs that might serve your purpose:

Dromeosaurus scale compared to humanReduced from "Dromie scale" by Matt Martyniuk - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons Source: Reduced from "Dromie scale" by Matt Martyniuk - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Utahraptor, which is also shown in the above graphic, is clearly large enough. Whether it's got the bone and muscle structure to carry a human is an open question.

Achillobator: only slightly smaller than the Utahraptor shown in the graphic. Not out of the question that a large Achillobatus could carry a smallish human.

Achillobatus scale

Source: Reduced from "Achillobator scale" by Matt Martyniuk - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

So, yes, in general, velociraptor-like big enough to ride did exist. But size isn't the only consideration.

Humans riding birds: can it be done?

Horses are big and strong, and we ride them a lot, and it doesn't seem strange. But birds? Could even a big strong bird carry a human?

It seems weird, but humans have been riding ostriches for centuries. Large flightless birds such as ostriches and emus have extremely efficient musculature, and bones strong enough to deliver killing kicks to humans.

Bear in mind that ostrich riding is usually a moderately daffy sport, and not a practical means of transportation. Still, it does suggest that a birdlike animal of ostrich-size or better could carry humans around pretty neatly.

As a bonus, I found the following graphic. Note that it's not the same scale as the two previous, and didn't have creator information. But it does show very clearly the comparison between Struthio camelus, today's ostrich, and the Utahraptor discussed above.

multiple flightless bird and raptor graphics

Source: Another Head Full Of Fantasy, blog of author Jesse Rebcock. (This is not an endorsement: I've never read any of his work.)

Finally: your question is cool because:

All of the prehistoric raptors had feathers, not scales as depicted in Jurassic Park).

These beasts are more wild and beautiful than you thought. :-)

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, this is everything I wanted and then some. This is probably going to be the answer, but I'll leave some time for other entries. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh May 22 '15 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ Also, it's good to hear that there are people out there who prefer dinosaurs with feathers. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh May 22 '15 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ Correction: the raptors were made large as artistic licence. After the movie was shot, larger raptors (specificallynthe utahraptor) was discovered. A sequel used the name "Utah Raptor". $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 22 '15 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ "Utahraptor, () it's not strictly speaking a Dromeosaurid (...) Achillobator is the largest of the Dromeosaurids" Where does it come from? According to Wikipedia, they all are dromeosaurids. Utahraptor, Dromeosaur and Achillobator belong to subfamily Dromeosaurinae. Velociraptor and maybe Deinonychus to subfamily Velociraptorinae. $\endgroup$ – BartekChom May 22 '15 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ Looking at that tiny velociraptor in the first picture, I now have the opposite question, can a raptor ride a human? $\endgroup$ – Maxim May 22 '15 at 23:35
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According to Wikipedia the velociraptor was about 15kg or 30lb, so that pretty much eliminates any kind of riding. However, there are many other dinosaurs which would be large enough. Training one would be quite the task however... (perhaps like training an ostrich today.)

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    $\begingroup$ Good luck with that. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat May 22 '15 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ I was just thinking about whether you could actually tame one, and as near as I can figure that's anyone's guess. It's a large carnivore, physically threatening, but so is a large dog. It's also a bird, sort of, and birds of prey can be tamed. If it's a pack hunter, it would have a social sense, but could its conception of 'pack' extend to include a human? If so, it could be as loyal as a a dog, otherwise who knows. $\endgroup$ – Elukka Jan 11 '17 at 11:54
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You could easily ride a Utahraptor. However, I would advise against such an attempt unless absolutely necessary. You (or the trainer) are just as likely to be thrown off the animal as to successfully ride it. They were most likely semi-intelligent. My reasoning is that an animal that hunts its prey has 2 options

  1. Let instincts do everything (like a shark)

  2. Be intelligent and hunt in packs

Evolution has promoted the former in ocean animals and insects, but most animals larger than a mole have intelligence. They might even be able to plot/conspire against their human captors.

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  • $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that dinosaurs were several hundred million years behind modern animals in the evolutionary race. I suspect if we resurrected them we'd be surprised at how stupid they were (and probably weaker in other ways as well). Now if you have a dinosaur's descendants, on the other hand, with those extra 65 million years of evolution? Those would be scary. $\endgroup$ – Dan Smolinske May 22 '15 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ You may be right but many animals that hunted for food have been successfully been made pets (like wolves). As long as they are not mistreated and are fed well, there is no reason why it is not possible. $\endgroup$ – Necessity May 22 '15 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @AdamNicholls It has taken many generations to tame wolves and make them what we know today. It would take as many if not more to tame a raptor. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat May 22 '15 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ @DanSmolinske Dinosaurs were in all probability not stupid simply because they existed 65 million years ago. Many dinosaur species were fully evolved from their primitive ancestors millions of years before them. The only reason mammals took over is because an asteroid/volcanic activity/disease. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat May 22 '15 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ It is not like we (mammals, not Humans specifically) are the pinnacle of evolution. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat May 22 '15 at 14:49
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You can NOT ride velociraptor. Way too small. Velociraptor scale image from Wikimedia

By Matt Martyniuk - self-made, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=917946

Dakotaraptor, maybe a little too small. Utahraptor, I guess the same.

But, Gigantorapter, OH YEAH BABY, YOU COULD RIDE THAT!
enter image description here

By I, Dinoguy2, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2292377

BONUS: Megaraptor is not a raptor, but you could ride that.

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    $\begingroup$ As answer go, this is rather short and non-descriptive - would you be able to explain why you couldn't ride a velociraptor, yet could ride the other raptors, giving details that aren't in the other answers? Thanks $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 Jan 10 '17 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir24601 I liked Ethan's style, so I fixed his answer. Now with pictures showing the problem! It's covered by one of the other answers, but I liked the way the answer was worded enough to help him out. $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Jan 11 '17 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ The accepted answer covers the size. Is this just an excerpt of tge main answer?! $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 11 '17 at 7:01
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If we could clone them like in Jurassic World, using foreign DNA, then we could possibly make them bigger, possibly big enough for riding. BUT, you would have to tame one first, and even if you could tame one, they probably would outsmart any attempt to cage them. Now if you could "edit" their brains to make them dependent on instinct once we tame them they probably would be like a horse, just on two legs and with all the problems that ensues.

After you tame them you would need to think about how you will ride it, with a saddle or bareback. Now if you wanted a saddle, you would have to come up with a design that would fit both rider and animal, and not be too overly uncomfortable to both. You would also have to think about the way the animal moves and how the rider would have to move to stay on.

The best possible saddle for a raptor would probably be the ARK: Survival Evolved raptor saddle, found via Google here:

Now, how the rider moves is crucial to not getting thrown off. The most efficient way to ride a raptor at full run (In my opinion) would be to jockey it like a racehorse. For riding at a walking pace, the most efficient way would be to flex the lower half of your body to match the movements of the raptor, like flexing your body when jumping with a horse.

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