The Velociraptor is one of the most famous and fascinating dinosaurs you will find, belongs to the domeosaurid theropods and lived mainly in the Campanian period that happened at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 75 to 71 million years ago, mainly in Asia. Its name comes from one of its main characteristics, Velociraptor means’fast thief’ in Latin, which tells us about its incredible ability to run. The interesting thing is that it ran on two legs like some other dinosaurs, that is to say that it was bipedal, had a very long and rigid tail and three powerful claws on its legs, these legs had bones very similar to the bones of the birds we know, also had a curved claw on each leg.
Contrary to what you might think, it wasn’t a very large dinosaur, it could reach up to 1.8 meters in height and weighed about 15 kg, which made it very light. He had about 30 teeth on each side, his teeth were like saws, maybe this helped him to capture and not let go of his prey.
One of the main features of the Velociraptor that you might not expect is that it had feathers. It is rare to think of Velociraptors with feathers because they have been wrongly portrayed on television and in movies. They had feathers all over their bodies and on their forearms they had complex feathers, like some birds today, but they did not fly. Their feathers were used to frighten their prey, also to maintain their body temperature and of course the females to protect their eggs.
The first Velociraptor fossil was discovered in Mongolia, an expedition made in 1922 by the American Museum of Natural History to the Gob Desert, and since then many discoveries have been made, with remains discovered in northern China between 1988 and 1990. Two Velociraptor species are known, the V. mongoliensis and the V. osmolskae, which was named in 2008 and found in China. In reality there are not so many complete remains found, so very few specimens can be found in museums, although due to its well-documented behavior we know a lot about it and we can have replicas.
The Velociraptor was a very effective carnivorous predator, this due to its sharp claws and especially to the third curved claw, which it used to kill its prey, most likely slit their throats with it. His teeth also had great grip and he could hold his prey very well. We know he was an excellent hunter as Velociraptor fossils have been found near dinosaur bones much larger than him so we can know he killed large, much larger prey than him. This was an excellent hunter despite his size so he usually hunted alone.
The main virtue of the Velociraptor is that it was a very intelligent dinosaur, this because it has a very large brain compared to the size of its body. This made him a fearsome dinosaur, he was very fast, knew how to choose his prey and knew how to move around on his land. In addition to the speed it could reach, about 39 kilometers per hour, it was extremely fast for other dinosaurs of large size and great slowness. However, his ability to find victims and be an effective hunter is attributed to his very good mental capacity. To this we can add its third claw that made it extremely effective for hunting, because it could not only kill its prey with this claw, but could cut it to eat it better.
This is one of the most famous dinosaurs you will find, it is mainly known because it appeared in a very important role in the novel Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton and later in the film of the same name, although it must be added that it was not exactly well portrayed and in subsequent films some of the errors in its representation were clarified as it had caused great controversy.
You can also find it in the very cute En Busca del Valle Encantado and the Transformers Beast Wars series. Because of his reputation as a predator he is one of the main and evil dinosaurs in the video game Dino Crisis, and you can discover much more about him in the documentary Planet of the Dinosaur. It’s so famous and scary that even in Canada there’s a team called the Toronto Raptors.