If you have seen the Jurassic Park movies, you will probably remember the Velociraptors – they are one of the regularly recurring villains. In the movies, Velociraptors are equipped with a vicious hooked claw on their hind feet (which they seem to love tapping against the ground to make their approach more ominous), are approximately man-sized, hunt in packs, and are highly intelligent. In reality, while Velociraptors were real dinosaurs, their appearance in the movies is probably somewhat exaggerated.
Real Velocirators were carnivores (meat eaters) that lived during the late Cretaceous period, between about 84 and 80 million years ago, particularly in the regions that are today the countries of China and Mongolia. The animals probably grew to about 6 foot (1.8 meters) long, and stood about 3 foot high (0.9 meters). While real Velociraptors were not as large as those depicted in the Jurassic Park movies, they did indeed have curved claws on their hind feet, and probably did hunt together in packs. How intelligent were Velociraptors? That is hard to say, but it does not seem very likely that there were as smart as those shown in the movies. In any case, even if Velociraptors were not quite as formidable as those shown in the Jurassic Park films, they were nevertheless extremely effective predators – and I am sure that few of us one would actually want to meet one up close!
The word Velociraptor means “swift thief”, and this name was chosen by the famous palaeontologist, Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1924. All things considered, the choice of name does seem rather appropriate doesn’t it?
By S. Tanna. Discover more about Velociraptor at http://www.dinosaurjungle.com/dinosaur_species_velociraptor.php