Paleontology

Velociraptor



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Velociraptor is a very well known dinosaur. It was in the movie Jurassic Park and many others. The name velociraptor means swift robber. It lived in the late cretaceous period, about eighty to seventy-three million years ago. Velociraptor fossils have been found in Mongolia and China.

Velociraptor was a small, fast dinosaur. It grew to six feet long, was about three feet tall, and estimated to weigh about fifty-five pounds. They walked on two feet, with three toes on each foot, and arms. A feature that helped it kill prey, that few other dinosaurs have is a large curved claw on its second toe. When velociraptor walked the toe would be pulled up to prevent the claw from becoming blunt, and then when it attacked it would be flung forward like a switchblade. They also had a large brain cavity. A large brain would have allowed complicated co-ordinate movements, as well as giving velociraptor the ability to hunt in packs. Velociraptor also had a unique wrist, it not only moved up and down but also from side to side.

Velociraptor was discovered in 1924, by a group from the Museum of Natural History in New York City, in Mongolia. In 1972 in Mongolia a velociraptor was found attacking a protoceratops. They both died during the attack and both fossilized in the position they were when velociraptor attacked. That was a very interesting find because it is almost unheard of to find a pair of fossilized dinosaurs where one is attacking the other.

Velociraptor was a fierce predator. It hunted in packs much like wolves do today. They were very fast and could jump long distances. They would jump onto the side of their prey holding on with their sharp claws and teeth, and would cut open the preys belly with their sharp, curved second toe. Then when the prey fell to the ground the pack would start eating it whether it was dead or alive.

Velociraptor is a small but fierce predator that roamed East Asia. It has been in many movies and is one of the most known dinosaurs that there is. It will stay one of the most well known dinosaurs for a very long time.

References:

Paul Barrett, National Geographic Dinosaurs, Washington D.C.: Firecrest Books LTD, 1999.

Paul Dowswell, John Malam, Paul Mason, Steve Parker, The Ultimate Book of Dinosaurs, Fressingfield: Monkey Puzzle Media LTD, 2000.


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