From Academic Kids
| Velociraptor mongoliensis|
Conservation status: Fossil
Velociraptor mongoliensis ("fast thief"), was a coyote-sized, agile and slender theropod dinosaur species from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) with an up-curved skull and large sickle-shaped claws. They are commonly known as raptors, a name which can also refer to other dromaeosaurids.
Claws and teeth
Velociraptors had strong jaws with rows of bladed teeth. These, in combination with large claws on their forelimbs and sickle-shaped talons on the second toe (the size of these claws could reach up to the length of the teeth on extinct sabertooth cats), gave the animals some impressive weaponry.
There is some evidence of how these weapons were used: one of the more spectacular specimens of Velociraptor, found in the Gobi desert, is a complete, articulated skeleton clutching the skeleton of Protoceratops. The slashing toe claw is where the Protoceratops throat would have been, and the Velociraptor arm is clutched in the herbivore's jaws. The dinosaurs may have been caught in a sandstorm or buried as a sand dune fell on top of them.
Velociraptor is among the most birdlike dinosaurs known. Recently, fossils of dinosaurs related to Velociraptor (coelurosaurs) have been found in China with downy feathers on their bodies, and some even have flight feathers on their arms. It is therefore likely that Velociraptor bore feathers too, although no fossil evidence has yet confirmed this. Some of them have also been found in Plaza Huincul, Neuquen in Argentina.
Jurassic Park film
Velociraptor is well-known in its role as a vicious killer from the novel and movie Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs portrayed there were modelled after a larger relative, Deinonychus. While the movie was in production, the discovery of Utahraptor confirmed that even larger dromaeosaurids did in fact exist. It is from this movie that Velociraptor and other dromaeosaurids became popularly known as raptors and its reputation of being an extremely dangerous predator owing to its intelligence and aggressiveness while liable to be underestimated due its relatively small size compared to larger predators. Although it is possible that the animals hunted in packs (as in the movie) there is no strong fossil evidence to support this idea. It may well be so, however, as it has been determined that some other dinosaur species (like Iguanodon) lived in close-knit social groups; such behavior is unknown in modern reptiles, but generally present in birds.da:Velociraptor de:Velociraptor fr:Vélociraptor nl:Velociraptor pt:Velociráptor es:Velociraptor he:ולוסירפטור sv:Velociraptor