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Velociraptor mongoliensis

Updated on July 20, 2014

Velociraptor(speedy plunderer) was a Dromaeosaurid Dinosaur that lived in Mongolia 75 milion years ago towards the end of the cretaceuos period. It was first discovered in the Gobi Desert on August 11th 1923 by Paleontologist Peter Kaisen. As with other Dromaeosaurs, Velociraptor ran on two legs, and had a sickle shaped claw on each foot. Velociraptor is probably one of the most widely known dinosaur names due to it's fame in the film industry. However, Hollywood's rendition of the prehistoric predator is a bit inaccurate. In the famed Jurassic Park films the Velociraptors were 9 ft long and 6 ft high and more resembled it's North American cousin Deinonychus. The shape of the snout was also changed to make the Raptors in the movie look more menacing. In life Velociraptor would have been 6 ft long and about 3 ft high. It would have been covered in down feathers similar in consistency to Ostrich feathers. Velociraptor and it's relatives were thought among to be the most intelligent dinosaurs due to their brain to body ratio. Of course it's unlikely they were smart enough to open doors like in the JP films. Didn't that make them so scary? Well even if they weren't as scary as the movies I would be terrified nonetheless by little feathered dragons, with hook like claws.

The fossil of the "Fighting Dinosaurs"
The fossil of the "Fighting Dinosaurs" | Source

A CGI Video of Velociraptors killing a Protoceratops

Food and hunting

Cretaceous Mongolia had many different types of Dinosaurs. The most likely prey of Velociraptor was the Protoceratops, a quadruped Dinosaur with a neck frill and a large snapping beak. It was about the size of a sheep and fossil evidence shows they lived in herds. One of the most famous discoveries, and the best evidence that Velociraptors hunted and killed Protoceratops for food is the famous "Fighting Dinosaurs" fossil found in Mongolia. The fossil shows a Velociraptor with it's hands caught in the Protoceratops beak, and it's foot claws stuck in the Protoceratops throat. Paleontologists believe while the two combatants were locked in a violent death struggle, when a sand storm had swept over them and buried them very quickly preserving them together forever. Velociraptor may have hunted in packs although there is no direct evidence of this. Fossils of other species of Dromaeosaurs have been discovered together in groups. Some Paleontologists believe this is direct evidence that Dromaeosaurs hunted in packs, while others suggest that they would gather around carcasses and exhibit similar feeding behaviors to Komodo Dragons or Crocodiles.


Feathers or not?

Many feather impressions of Dromaeosaurs have been found and most Paleontologists agree that Velociraptor had downy feathers like that of modern Ostriches and Cassowaries. These feathers wouldn't have made the Dinosaur capable of flight, but it shows that the Velociraptors and other Dromaeosaurs shared a common ancestor with modern day birds. For Velociraptor, the feathers may have been used as sexual display items, to protect nests using temperature control, warm it's body, or to help it maneuver while running.


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    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Great hub, Chris. I remember reading somewhere that the 'Velociraptors' used in Jurassic Park were actually Utahraptors, can't remember where though. Anyway, great work, voted up etc.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Very informative. I think everyone believes the Velociraptor looks like it was depicted in Jurassic Park. Voted up.