Swift seizer of Mongolia
Cretaceous Period, 75-71 MYA
6 feet long, 18 inches tall at the hips, 30 pounds
- Small bumps found on the arm bones of Velociraptor have been discovered to be quill knobs.
- Modern birds have similar structures on their arms to allow for solid attachments of flight feathers.
- While it would not have been able to fly, Velociraptor may have used its arm feathers to help keep balanced while perched atop thrashing prey. Coupled with its avian method of hunting, it is possible this behavior was the evolutionary precursor to flapping.
- There is poor evidence to support raptors living and hunting in packs. This theory originated with the discovery of an ornithopod surrounded by the carcasses of two dead raptors and numerous shed raptor teeth. However, this is more likely to have been caused by non-cooperative group feeding. This involves numerous individuals gathering around a food source and fighting amongst each other for access.
Velociraptor is often portrayed in popular culture as a terrifying predator the size of a man. In reality, it would have been little larger than a domestic turkey! Most members of this group were under 100 pounds. Raptor dinosaurs, technically known as dromaeosaurs, are well known for the enlarged, heavily curved claw on the innermost toe. This claw was held up off the ground and could measure up to 2.5 inches in Velociraptor. Despite having a sharp tip, the claw had no cutting edge and would not have been able to disembowel large prey as depicted in movies. Instead, it is believe raptors used their claws to restrain smaller animals in a manner similar to modern birds of prey.
Kingdom - Animalia Phylum - Chordata Class - Reptilia Order - Saurischia Family - Dromaeosauridae Genus - Velociraptor Species - V. mongoliensis