Velociraptor

velociraptor at Wingham Wildlife Park

Distribution:

Velociraptors roamed across what is now Asia.

Time Period:

They lived during the Cretaceous Period around 75-71 million years ago. This period was the third and final segment of the Mesozoic Era. Until this Era the continents which exist today were fused into one super continent called Pangaea. Although it had already begun to separate throughout the previous periods, the Cretaceous period saw Pangaea spread across the world. The change caused the Earth’s climate to slowly cool and the continents and oceans familiar to us today first started to form. Many dinosaurs adapted to these changes well and continued to evolve. However, the period ended in the mass extinction of all dinosaurs after an asteroid hit the planet

Size:

Velociraptors were about 2 meters (7 ft) long and 1 meter (3.5 ft) high, weighing 15kg (33lbs)

Diet:

They were carnivores which normally fed on smaller animals.

Interesting Facts:

The Jurassic Park films recreated Velociraptor at twice its real height. Their version of it in the films was modelled on Deinonychus.

Their name means ‘swift plunderer’ so named because of their agility and diet. They are now known to have had feathers on at least their forelimbs. A well-preserved fossil was discovered which had quill knobs on its arms which are like those found on a bird. However, they couldn’t have flown as their arms were too short. It’s likely that they used their feathers to attract a mate, create thrust when running and to protect their eggs from the elements.

Their teeth were serrated which would have been perfect for stripping meat from the bones of their prey. They mostly ate smaller creatures such as lizards and amphibians. However, one famous specimen was discovered which had been preserved in the midst of battle with Protoceratops (a larger herbivorous dinosaur). This indicated that they would hunt larger prey perhaps when starving or still young and learning their limits. There’s proof that Velociraptors scavenged carcasses too, so their diet was quite varied.