The Velociraptor

Known as the Swift Thief, the Velociraptor was one of the fastest, most intelligent and downright meanest dinosaurs.

 Meaning of name: Swift Thief

Time Period:

Cretaceous

Fossil Location:

Mongolia, China and Russia

Diet

: Carnivore

Size:

1.5 to 2 meters long, 1 meter high and weighed 25kg

Pronunciation:

The movie “Jurassic Park” made the Velociraptor quite famous, but he was not always portrayed in a truthful light. The Velociraptor is both different and the same from his movie image. In the movie the raptor was seen as a dinosaur that was as large as a man, smart as a chimpanzee, and could move as quickly as a cheetah, this is false. The Velociraptor was only three feet tall, about the size of a large turkey, its intelligence equal to an ostrich‘s, and while being one of the fastest of the raptor species, it could not move as fast as a cheetah. Their attributes that were accurate in the movie were that, they hunted in packs like wolves or lions, their viciousness and their style of attack.

It is thought that some of our predatory birds of today evolved from the raptor family. Raptor skeletons looks quite different then other small carnivorous dinosaur skeletons. The three major difference’s are, he had palms that face each other, the infamous “Killer claw” that all raptors have on their feet, and their chest plates which resembles a birds, not a dinosaurs. Also it is believed the Velociraptor had feathers upon its body, further cementing that the raptor family is where some of our predatory modern day birds come from.

The first Velociraptor fossil was found in the Gobi Desert in 1922 by Roy Chapman Andrews. In 1971 a team of Polish scientists found the most famous raptor fossil to date, it was two skeletons, that of a Velociraptor and a Protoceratops locked in mortal combat. So far about a dozen Velociraptor fossils have been uncovered, including the famous above mentioned fight scene and two hatchling Velociraptor skulls

The Velociraptor could take down prey five to six times their size, due to their intelligence and the fact they hunted in packs. Even with the intelligence of an ostrich, the Velociraptor was still one of the most intelligent dinosaur breed’s around. Between his cunning, hunting in packs and their natural weaponry of razor sharp teeth and their flesh rending claws, most prey didn’t stand a chance. There have been theories that the raptor family was actually warm-blooded, which means that in the mornings when dinosaurs would be slow and sluggish waiting to warm up, the Velociraptor was ready to kill the moment he awoke. While the Velociraptor might not be as big, or intelligent, or as fast as his Hollywood image, he was still a highly efficient hunter, which if alive today would be one of the most formidable predators around.

va-LOSS-ah-RAP-tor

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