The Velociraptors are a well-known group of theropod dinosaurs which were slender, and known for their speed and agility. Their name means “swift thief,” and they lived during the late Cretaceous period. They had skulls which were slightly curved upwards and claw-like sickles on each of their second toes. They belong to the dromaeosaurid family.
Velociraptors are known for having very strong jaws which were filled with about 80 sharp teeth. A documentary featured in 2005 showed that Velociraptors did not use their claws to slice open the stomachs of their victims, as was previously believed. Instead, Velociraptors killed their prey with precision and aimed for the jugular vein or windpipe of the victim.
Velociraptor contained four claws on every foot. The first claw on every foot was small and was positioned away from the main foot. The second claw, placed in the innermost part of the foot, allowed the creature to become a capable hunter. The other two claws were used to support its weight.
Dinosaur Data Sheet
- Velociraptor name
- Length 1.8 Mtrs.
- Height 2 Mtrs.
- Weight 60 Kg.
- Carnivorous Diet
- Superior Cretaceous Period
- 80 million years
- Found in Mongolia
How Fast is a Velociraptor?
The name Velociraptor is extracted from Greek meaning ‘speedy thief.’ However, it wasn’t as quick as ‘bird mimic’ dinosaurs or the modern ornithomimids, which could reach speeds of up to 50 MPH. The truth is that even the speediest Velociraptors could have been significantly troubled by their turkey-sized, short legs and could have easily been outpaced by an athletic kid.
Raptors fossil has been discovered individually and not in clusters. The discoveries of more recent Deinonychus have been linked with that of Velociraptors, which indicates that they hunted in solitary. However, this doesn’t ascertain anything because perhaps the Deinonychus did so to fight a much bigger dinosaur as their size was more significant than that of Velociraptors.
Velociraptor belonged to the group of Saurischian or Sauripelvian dinosaurs, which stood out for presenting the pubic region to the front and bottom, very similar to the common reptiles we know today.
On the other hand, this species can also be classified as a theropod (which moves with the hind limbs), in addition to presenting a carnivorous diet. In general, Velociraptor belongs to the family Dromaeosauridae , within the order Saurischia .
The investigations carried out so far, have made it known that Velociraptor could feed on prey much larger than him, something that does not seem far-fetched if we take into account his strength, his intelligence, and his speed. As a custom, this species liked to hunt alone, and once captured the prey, cut it into pieces to swallow it more easily.
With the force of its sharp claws (especially the third of each limb), the Velociraptor managed to subdue its prey, preferably cutting their throat. To this, we must add the ability of their teeth to grab and hold, something that confirms the remains of Velociraptor found with much larger and stronger prey.
Velociraptor fed mainly on herbivorous dinosaurs such as Hadrosaur, Protoceratops, and Saurolophus, as well as eggs of other species and small mammals.
What was the Habitat of the Velociraptor?
You may think that this creature resided in North America due to its association with Hollywood, but the truth is that it lived in modern-day Mongolia more than seventy million years ago. The evidence for this was found in 1971 when the fossils of a Velociraptor and Protoceratops were found in the Gobi desert. The Velociraptors claw is found embedded in the area where the jugular vein of the Protoceratops would be located. The fossils of the Velociraptor were first found in Mongolia in 1924 by a paleontologist named H.F. Osborn. Velociraptors seem to have resided in Eurasia, as most fossils have been found in Russia, China, or Mongolia.
Some refer to the Velociraptor as being a bird, and this is correct to some extent. Many dromaeosaurids have birdlike features, and it is believed that the Velociraptor may have had feathers. Paleontologists believe that the Velociraptors had feathers as they had quill knobs on their bones just like the modern-day birds. They think that feathers could have been attached to these areas. Researchers have portrayed this dinosaur as having everything from colorless, pale, green plumage to chicken-like tufts worthy of a South American parrot. The movie depicts this animal as being lizard-skinned, but this isn’t the truth. Since most birds today have feathers even if they are unable to fly, more than likely the Velociraptors had feathers also.
Velociraptors have tails which are contracted, and it was always held directly behind its body. This gave the creatures excellent balance and the ability to turn quickly. Deinonychus is related to the Velociraptor but is much larger in size. Cold-blooded animals do not excel at aggressively pursuing and violently attacking their prey. This fact alongside a possible coat of feathers leads paleontologists to believe that the Velociraptor was a warm-blooded creature and possessed warm-blooded metabolism similar to those of mammals and present-day birds. This has not yet been confirmed.
Many paleontologists also believe that the Velociraptor believe Velociraptors probably had the skill of climbing trees. Its sharp toe-claws support this fact. Paleontologist also believes that the ancestors of Velociraptors could probably fly as they had wings and feathers. It suggests that the Raptors could fly as well. Currently, we have seen birds that do not fly though they have feathers. This aspect can be taken into consideration, as well.
How Big were Velociraptors?
Many movies like Jurassic Park feature the Velociraptor much larger than it actually was. In reality, the Velociraptor was only 6 feet in length, 2 feet tall, and probably weighed no more than 45 pounds. It would take almost seven adult Velociraptor to match one average-sized dinosaur.
Although it was not a large animal (it did not exceed 1.8 meters in height in the adult state), the Velociraptor was a fierce predator of about 15 kilograms in weight and a distinctive skull slightly curved upwards (25 cm long). His jaws contained about 26 pieces of sharp teeth on each side with a serrated shape that allowed him to increase his predatory abilities.
As we mentioned at the beginning, the Velociraptor was a biped animal, that is, it moved on its hind limbs. As for the maximum speed, these animals could reach up to 40 kilometers per hour, balanced in part thanks to the length of their tail, which also served them to execute fast turns and gear changes.
Velociraptor also had a bone structure very similar to that found in current birds, as well as powerful feathers and claws. However, these animals could not fly, so it is assumed that the presence of feathers served to control body temperature and that of their eggs.
As for his intelligence, we must highlight that they had a large brain compared to the rest of the body, which added to what is known as “terrible claw” (a claw 10 centimeters in length on its limbs and could kill it to its prey), made it a very effective predator.
Other interesting facts
- In addition to its impressive speed (it barely weighed about 15 kilograms), the Velociraptor had a great mental capacity to decipher its prey and move through the ground without being detected.
- It existed on Earth about 80 million years ago.
- Although it has not been confirmed with accuracy, it is believed that Velociraptor possessed warm blood, partly due to its great resemblance to current birds.
- Some scientists claim that it was the most intelligent dinosaur that existed.
- Its reproduction was of sexual type (as it happens with vertebrates).
- He lived mostly in deserts and sand dunes of Central Asia.
- They were oviparous animals, and they built nests on the ground to lay eggs.