Velociraptor (Velociraptor): description, characteristics, photo

Velociraptor (lat. Velociraptor; from lat. velox fast and raptor hunter) a genus of predatory bipedal dinosaurs from the family of dromaeosaurids. Contains one generally recognized species Velociraptor mongoliensis . Lived at the end of the Cretaceous period 83-70 million. years ago.

His remains have been found in the Republic of Mongolia and Chinese Inner Mongolia. It was smaller than other representatives of its family Deinonychus and Achillobator and had a number of progressive anatomical features.


Velociraptor was one of the most fearsome dinosaurs and a very dangerous predator. This small and agile animal was armed with terrible claws and many sharp teeth. Velociraptors hunted in packs, which made them even more dangerous for the victim. Large carnivores like tyrannosaurs weren’t particularly agile. Velociraptor lived up to its name, and the victim had little chance of escaping from a pack of these fast killers.

Velociraptor to some extent resembles some modern predators, such as wolves. He was about the same size and hunted in packs. This method of hunting allowed small dinosaurs to drive a prey that was much larger than them. The prey was distributed among all members of the flock. Velociraptor was a pretty smart hunter: the size of his brain is quite large compared to the size of his body.

Velociraptor was perfectly adapted to run fast. The body of the cycling was light and compact, it possessed long legs, thin front paws and graceful, s-shaped neck. Long thin bone rods, which were on each tail vertebra, gave the tail of the cycle cyclist to elasticity and stiffness.

He used the tail like his groove his pole to hold equilibrium. The tail balanced the weight of the animal’s body, so that cycling could swiftly turn and change the direction of movement, chasing the victim.

The main feature that made a cycling with an extremely dangerous predator was sharp, crooked claws. They were located on the second fingers of the hind legs, had very sharp tips and a shape flattened on the sides, like a cat claws. When the cycling cycle moved, the claws were drawn into the paw and therefore did not dull about the ground.

When attacking the victim, the cyclingcycle beat greatly with his foot, throwing the claws forward and down. At the same time, each claw jumped out like a switchblade, inflicting large and very deep wounds on the victim. After that, the predator just had to wait for his prey to weaken and become easy prey.


Velociraptor was a small dinosaur, up to 1.8 m long, 60–70 cm tall and weighing about 20 kg. Had an elongated and curved upward skull up to 25 cm long. The upper and lower jaws have 26-28 teeth, spaced and bent back to capture and hold prey.

Like most theropods, Velociraptor had four toes on its hind limbs, one of which was underdeveloped and did not participate in walking, and (like theropods) stepped on three fingers. Dromaeosaurids, including Velociraptor, used only two: the third and fourth.

The second had a large strongly curved claw, growing up to 67 mm in length (along the outer edge). It was previously considered their main weapon for killing and tearing victims. However, it was subsequently experimentally confirmed that the Velociraptor did not use these claws as blades (since their inner curved edge was rounded, and the sharp tip did not break through the skin of the animal, but only pierced it); most likely, they served as hooks, with the help of which the predator clung to its prey, then pierced its trachea or cervical artery.

Velociraptor’s forelimbs had three toes. The first was the shortest and the second was the longest.

The flexibility of the Velociraptor’s tail was reduced by bony outgrowths of the vertebrae in their upper part and ossified tendons in the lower part. Bone outgrowths stretched along from 4-10 vertebrae, which gave stability when cornering, especially when running at high speed.

The remains (skull and claws of the hind limbs) of a Velociraptor were first discovered in 1922. in the Mongolian part of the Gobi Desert by the expedition of the US Museum of Natural History. In 1924. museum director Henry Osborn mentioned these findings in a popular science article and named the described animal Ovoraptor djadochtari, later changing the name to Velociraptor mongoliensis.

Hunting strategy

In 1971, the remains of a Velociraptor and a Protoceratops were found that died in a fight and were buried in the sand. They allowed to reconstruct many aspects of the hunting strategy of Velociraptor. The claws of his hind extremities found in the neck of the protocratops may explain that the cycle cyclist attacked with their help the cervical arteries, veins and the victim’s trachea, and not the abdominal cavity with vital organs, as previously thought.

All the found remains of cycling are separate individuals, and the fact that they hunted flocks is not confirmed. Close relatives of cycling Dinonichi most likely hunted flocks, since during excavations, groups of their individuals are often found.

Plumage and warmblooded

The idea of ​​cycling before and after opening the plumage



Dromeosavrides were evolutionarily close to birds, who were most primitive representatives of this family with a welldeveloped plumage. Early Dromeoosaurids Microraptor and Sinornthosaurus had more bird features than their relatives of cycling, who lived later for several tens of millions of years. The discovered remains of velociraptors had no soft tissue impressions, which made it impossible to determine whether they had plumage.

In 2007. Several paleontologists reported the discovery in a specimen of Velociraptor (IGM 100/981) of tubercles on the ulna, attachment points for secondary flight feathers typical of modern birds. According to paleontologists, this discovery confirms that velociraptors had plumage.

The plumage and evolutionary relationship of Velociraptors to birds has two versions:

Typical avian features (including plumage) noted in dromaeosaurids may have been inherited from a common ancestor one of the groups of coelurosaurs (generally accepted version).

Dromaeosaurids, including velociraptors, are primitive birds, possibly secondarily unable to fly (like an ostrich). Most paleontologists reject this version. Its famous supporter is the American paleontologist Gregory Paul.

The plumage of Velociraptors means they are warm-blooded. Cold-blooded animals are not capable of thermal insulation, they need to get heat from the environment, but the growth rate of dromaeosaurid bones is less than that of modern birds and mammals, which indicates a slow metabolism.

Misconception about appearance

Velociraptor gained wide popularity after the film “Jurassic Park” (1993), based on the story of the same name by Michael Crichton (1990).

In both works, many features of the animal are based on the reconstruction of another dromaeosaurid, Deinonychus; this is because Michael Crichton followed Gregory Paul’s system of placing Deinonychus in the genus Velociraptor under the name V. antirrhopus.

In the story, Crichton makes a reservation: “… Deinonychus is now considered as one of the velociraptors” (there is no such reservation in the film). The excavations at the beginning of the film and the story are in Montana, where Deinonychus, not Velociraptor, was distributed.

The computer models in the movie are twice as big as V. mongoliensis, and are similar in size to Deinonychus. In this book, Velociraptor is characterized as a very dangerous predator, hunting in very well-coordinated groups, as the most intelligent and especially bloodthirsty dinosaur; In the movie, he is the one who most often attacks people. Also in this film, velociraptors are depicted without feathers.

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