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Velociraptors: one of

the fiercest predators that

ever roamed the Earth

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Velociraptors were found in Mongolia, China and Russia.
Velociraptor was a ferocious predator with dagger like teeth.

Velociraptor had fairly large brains, compared to other dinosaur
species, which made them one of the most intelligent of the

Velociraptors had a light, agile body, with long legs and fingers;
the second toed of each foot had a large, retractable claw. A large
brain, lightly built skull, a wishbone, breastbone and long arms; and
a half-moon shaped bone in its wrist making it possible to swivel
its wrist to the side in a flapping motion and to fold its arm
against its body like a bird.

Velociraptor was similar in appearance to the larger Deinonychus
and the much larger Utahraptor. Like Deinonychus and possibly
Utahraptor, it may have hunted in packs....although Velociraptor
and Utahraptor fossils have never been found in groups like Deinonychus.

Their name, Velociraptor means “Speedy Thief”. They were
characterized as being the smallest type of raptor dinosaur. They were
quick and agile at jumping, running and hunting. This species of
dinosaur ran on two-legs instead if four.

Velociraptors were meat-eaters. They had approximately 80 very
sharp, curved teeth, and a long, flat snout. Some teeth measured
over an inch long.

Velociraptors lived during the Cretaceus period, about 85 million
years ago.

Velociraptor mongoliensis was first discovered in 1924 in what is
now the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Its name means 'swift robber
from Mongolia in reference to its possible habit of robbing
dinosaur eggs from nests.

Dromaeosaurids have a universal characteristic of having
large hands with three very curved claws with the middle
digit being longer than the other digits on either side. The
first digit was the shortest digit on the hand.

The wrist was made in such a way that the hands were always
held with the palms facing inward rather than down. When the
palms are held downwards this is called pronation (like in

On the foot of a Velociraptor the first digit was a small
dew claw. The Velociraptor was unique in that it walked on
the third and fourth digit and the second digit was held off
the ground.

The second digit was the one that had the very long wickedly
curved claw for killing prey. The claw could be two and one
sixth inch long around the outer edges. This is typical of
Troodontid and Dromaeosaurids dinosaurs.

Prezygapophyses or long bony projections were found on the
upper surface of the vertebrae and ossified tendons where
found underneath the surface. This is what is suspected of
stiffening the tail of the Velociraptor. The prezygapophyses
started on the tenth vertebra of the tail and extended to
brace four to ten more vertebrae depending on the tail

This forced the tail to act like a rod rather than a tail.
It prevented any vertical motion of the tail between the
vertebrae. It has been found in one recovered fossil
skeleton that this may have allowed the tail more horizontal
movement. It is suspected that this adaptation allowed for
stability and balance when making quick high speed turns.

In 2007 it was confirmed that the Velociraptor really did
have feathers as a fossil of a well preserved forearm with
quill knobs on it was found in Mongolia by Mark Norell, Alan
Turner and Mark Norell.

Mark Norell, Curator-in-Charge of fossil reptiles,
amphibians and birds at the American Museum of Natural
History has said,

"The more that we learn about these animals the more we find
that there is basically no difference between birds and
their closely related dinosaur ancestors like Velociraptor.
Both have wishbones, brooded their nests, possess hollow
bones, and were covered in feathers. If animals like
Velociraptor were alive today our first impression would be
that they were just very unusual looking birds."

Velociraptors and Jurassic Park

The movie Jurassic Park made the velociraptor famous. Velociraptors
were every bit as fierce in real life as in the movie, however they were
portrayed as being much, much larger than they actually were....
most likely to make them appear more sinister. The largest
velociraptors grew to about 4 foot high.

Also, the chances of a velociraptor actually attacking a T Rex would
be almost zero, however a velociraptor in Hollywood, no doubt
getting paid big bucks for the performance, could be counted
on to be the hero and save the human folks from certain annihilation.

The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were created with computer generated
imagery by Industrial Light and Magic.

Jurassic Park Velociraptor

See Also:

Prehistoric Birds

Birds in Mythology

Stuffed Plush Velociraptors you will have so Much Fun With

Magnificent Velociraptor and Dinosaur Calendars

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