87: Velociraptors

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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You're probably thinking, 'has it been a decade?'  It's been over thirteen years, buddy.
Title text: You're probably thinking, 'has it been a decade?' It's been over thirteen years, buddy.


This comic refers to the film Jurassic Park, a 1993 movie based on the 1990 novel by Michael Crichton. The film depicts a billionaire who buys an island and opens a zoo/theme park for dinosaurs cloned from DNA recovered from blood found in fossilized mosquitoes. Naturally, everything goes haywire, and several of the creatures, among which are the velociraptors subject of this comic, try to devour every human in the theme park.

Velociraptors (often shortened as "raptors") are a species of relatively small, carnivorous dinosaur that play a central role in the original film and its sequels. In the film, packs of Velociraptors attack the main characters at various points, even entering buildings; they play a large role in the climax of the film. According to Wikipedia, the velociraptors in the film were erroneously based on Deinonychus. The movie depicts the velociraptors as having scaly reptilian skin, though dinosaurs of this type are now theorized to have been feathered.

As we see in this and future comics, even though it had been approximately thirteen years since he presumably first saw the film, Randall apparently has lived in perpetual fear of a real raptor attack. Specifically, in this comic, he worries how a building would stand up against the creatures. The main risk posed by the house depicted comes by the large window in the living room, through which a Velociraptor could break in (Randall apparently believes that the bathroom window is too high for them to reach and the door too secure to break through).

The image text points out what he presumes is the reader's disbelief that Jurassic Park had (as of 2006) been released so long ago (thirteen years prior). This is another classic xkcd premise that will later be the subject of 891: Movie Ages five years later, which includes Jurassic Park again. This is the first in a long line of comments and comics Randall has made about how realizing the release dates of things in popular culture can make us feel old.


[Picture of a suburban house, with lines pointing to various aspects.]
High bathroom window: probably secure.
Outer door: secure.
It's been over a decade since Jurassic Park opened, and I still size up buildings for their potential as shelter against Velociraptor attacks.


This comic marks the first reference in xkcd to Jurassic Park, and specifically to Randall's fear of velociraptors. The fear will continue to be a subject of future comics and running jokes.

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I know the knowledge of dinosaurs is growing and changing daily. Was it widely understood that Velociraptors were feathers back in the early 1990s? Tryc (talk) 17:33, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

Nope. The confirmation came quite later.

Wikipedia: In 2007, paleontologists reported the discovery of quill knobs on a well-preserved Velociraptor mongoliensis forearm from Mongolia, confirming the presence of feathers in this species. SaMa (talk) 13:31, 20 June 2013 (UTC)we

However, the size of the velociraptor was well known when the book and the film were produced. The dinosaurs in the film are similar to Deinonychus in size. Deinonychus was also feathered. HNY 00:32, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Want to feel old? This comic was released closer to the premiere of Jurassic Park than to today. 07:36, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

My last place was a duplex weirdly a half floor elevated with a wooden stair I could barricade or destroy, perfect for keeping out zombies while still having a big picture window. My current 2,900 square foot house would be great except for one huge set of three picture windows that would be impossible to defend, and that's bothered me since I got it. I don't have his weird velociraptor fetish, though. I think I could handle those. — Kazvorpal (talk) 22:44, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

  • Each place I live, I develop a plan for if there's a Zombie Apocalypse. This does involve figuring out which windows need to be boarded up, among other things. — Kazvorpal (talk) 01:51, 29 January 2024 (UTC)

Found a reference to Randall's fear of Velociraptors over in Dinosaur Comics, specifically in the mouseover text: https://qwantz.com/index.php?comic=903 (talk) 04:51, 14 April 2021 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

In light of a recent edit, I was tempted to add that he does not seem to assess the garage/car-port door at all, nor acknowledge any rearward/out-of-view pogential openings in the house wall. Now, the garage likely has external shutter and internal door leading into the human(/dino)-only interior, so if both are closed then Ok. But, knowing the tropes, some chink will open up and there is a nasty surprise awaiting the human defender(s). The unseen rear/sides can be excused his lack of Sherlock Vision labeling, maybe, until he can actually do a walk round the perimiter to fill in those gaps in his internal picture, but the missed ingress (or emergency egress, perhaps not needing it to be opened first) is blatently missing... 09:54, 26 June 2023 (UTC)