Velociraptor (Swift seizer)
Henry Fairfield Osborn - 1924
Estimated 2 meters long
V. mongoliensis (type), V. osmolskae
Mongolia, Barun Goyot Formation, Djadochta Formation
Late Cretaceous, 75-71 million years ago
Velociraptor is a genus of small theropod dinosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous period, around 75-71 million years ago, in what is now Mongolia and China. Its name means “swift seizer” in Latin, reflecting its reputation as a fast and agile predator.
Velociraptor was a small dinosaur, measuring about 2 meters (6.5 feet) in length and weighing around 15 kilograms (33 pounds). It had a long, stiff tail, a large sickle-shaped claw on each foot, and a relatively large brain compared to other dinosaurs of similar size. Velociraptor was also covered in feathers, which would have helped it to regulate its body temperature and perhaps even to aid in balance and communication.
Velociraptor is perhaps best known from its appearance in the popular Jurassic Park franchise, where it is depicted as being much larger than it actually was and having a more upright, bird-like posture. While the movie’s portrayal is not entirely accurate, it has helped to popularize the image of Velociraptor as a fearsome and intelligent predator.
In reality, Velociraptor was indeed a formidable predator, with a sharp beak and teeth and powerful legs. It likely hunted small, fast-moving prey such as lizards and mammals, and may have also scavenged on occasion. Recent studies have suggested that Velociraptor may have hunted in packs, which would have allowed it to take down larger prey and defend against larger predators.
Overall, Velociraptor was an impressive and fascinating dinosaur that provides important insights into the evolution of theropod dinosaurs, and their role as predators in the ecosystems of the Late Cretaceous period.