Yes, I know. Another of the family Dromeosauridea. So sue me. It's an obsession I have.
The Bambiraptor is still cool because this critter is about 3 feet long from tail to teeth, it has the hooking claw and it was found by a 14 year old in the fine state of Montana. It may be, maybe, a juvenile Saurornitholestes,
(That would be the killer on the right.) But I like to think that it was it's own species of diminutive slayer that could use it's hooking claw to flay a dragonfly in nothing flat. If it is it's own species, it is smaller than it's cousin Troodon, and even cooler for just that.
But be aware. Over the last several years, we have sold Jack Horner a metric ton of high powered Apple computer equiptment. Dr. Horner just wrote this book. He's got access to dinosaur DNA, so you do the math ...
My choice for the baddest of the Cretaceous therapods goes to this guy right here. Certainly not as big or as powerful as a Tyrannosaurus, but consider this. All Dromeosaurids were thought to have hunted in packs. This critter would have been fast, agile, intelligent and lethal with it's 9 inch hooking claw. Just one of these darlings would have been a nightmare for any careless Hadrosaur in the vicinity. Get a gang of them together, and I haven't a doubt they could have taken down even the larger Sauropods.
I've focused so far on carnivorous Cretaceous Theropods. Let's focus a little on their food (with sad shaking of head.)
Montana has given an immense amount to dinosaur paleontology. Maternal dinosaurs and egg clutches, the destruction of the myth of the slow lumbering lizard, Dino DNA, the earliest specimen of mammals and the largest find of Tyrannosaurs in the world to date. And which of these impressive creatures is named after the fine state of Montana? A large herbivorous pig with a tiny little crest.
Another contender for the throne of baddest ass carnivorous Therapods is the Spinosaurus. It does have legitimate claim to being the largest, but certainly not the toughest. Admit it, you knew in Jurassic Park III that as soon as the T-Rex clamped down on that pretenders neck the fight was all over. Right? AMIRIGHT!?!
Popular culture seems determined to dethrone the king of carnivorous theropods, the T-Rex. Giganotosaurus is a contender to the throne, since it's larger than the Tyrannosaur, or at least 'might' be. (T-Rex B from the Hell Creek dig begs to differ.) Regardless, look at the skull on Giganotosaurus and it becomes clear that this is a dainty boned flower next to the larger brained, structurally reinforced and better dentured Tyrannosaur.
I'm just going to stick with the therapoda for a while. When you're a kid, you probably love the ornithiscia: trycycloplotz, stegalopolus and the like. But for me, the thrill was always claws and cutting teeth.
Besides, I have a really cool casting of a Dryptosaurus claw.