Velociraptor was about 6 feet (1.8 meters) long, and about 3 feet (0.9 meters)
Velociraptor was a predator that probably hunted in packs. Its most formidable
weapon was the curved claws on its hind feet. Its name, chosen by
Henry Fairfield Osborn
means "swift thief".
Movie goers will remember that Velociraptors featured heavily in the
Jurassic Park movies.
In the movies, Velociraptors were as large, if not slightly larger, than humans, and also
highly intelligent - however these two aspects of the creature
were probably exaggerated:
To be fair, we don't actually know exactly how smart Velociraptor would have been
- and it was probably smart for a dinosaur - but it seems unlikely to have been as smart
as a whale, dolphin or primate (as Sam Neill's character claims in
Jurassic Park III).
As far size is concerned, the Velociraptors seemed to be modelled after Deinonychus
(which has sometimes been known as Velociraptor antirrhopus), which is actually
a close relative of Velociraptor. This fits, because in the
Jurassic Park novel,
a character states that Deinonychus
is now considered to be one the Velociraptors.
Additionally, this explanation fits because in the story
fossils of the animal
are found in Montana,
which was actually part of Deinonychus' (but not Velociraptor's) range.
One other interesting fact about Velociraptor, is that is now believed to have been
entirely covered in feathers, and had a warm-blooded bird-like metabolism.
Of course most depictions of Velociraptor don't show it this way
Jurassic Park movies,
it is show as having a scaled skin, although by the third movie there are a few
feathers on its head and neck).
Velociraptor was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Velociraptor was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.
Velociraptor was a Theropod - a member of a group of related bipedal dinosaurs that included the ancestors of birds (although Velociraptor was not itself an ancestor of birds).
Velociraptor lived between about 84 million years ago and 80 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period.
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