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The Velociraptor

Posted March 5th, 2016 at 9:55 PM by Remus

I don't know why but today I'm in the mood to talk about my favourite dinosaurs! Dinosaurs are incredibly cool creatures that I've always been interested in studying so what better than to dedicate a blog entry to them? Today, I'll be talking about the Velociraptor but I will be probably blogging about some of my other favourite dinosaurs from the three time periods in which they existed - the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods in later entries. For now, feel free to enjoy this slightly in-depth look at velociraptors! This is mostly information I found out from personal interest on the topic so let me know if you think there are any errors that I need to correct.

The Velociraptor

Remember the velociraptors from Jurassic Park? Those were believed to be velociraptors by most fans, however the real velociraptor was actually three times smaller and suggested to be covered in feathers rather than the ones that appeared in the film. In fact, the velociraptors in Jurassic Park were more like the size of other species of dromeosaur, which is the small group of dinosaurs that the velociraptor belonged to. Dromeosaurs or 'running lizards' were known for being the most bird-like out of dinosaurs with notable features of the dinosaur group including that they were all bipedal, sported forelimbs that were able to do a slashing action similar to a bird's and most, if not all of them were covered in feathers. Though there's still no evidence that clearly proves this, it is believed that due to these similarities between birds and dromeosaurs, a common ancestor occurred somewhere between them. Here's one example of an illustration of a species of dromeosaur to show you what this group of dinosaur was believed to look like:

A depiction of what a species of dromeosaur might have looked like. As a small sidenote, dromeosaurs can also be informally known as raptors however this can easily be confused with the name used to refer to birds of prey.

Back to the Velociraptor though, I think Jurassic Park played quite a large part in my interest in the species! I was definitely surprised to find out that the Velociraptor wasn't the dinosaur I spent most of the film cheering for but that doesn't mean they're not incredible creatures themselves. The real velociraptor stood at 3 ft which is the size of about a large chicken or turkey. It had a long and stiffened tail which is suggested to have helped it balance when it used the talons on its feet to kill and snatch prey. They hunted in packs and tended nests of eggs, however unlike birds - they could not fly as their short limbs made lift off impossible. However we do know that the velociraptor had features remarkably similar to a bird, including quill knobs that suggest that they had feathers or plumage. The velociraptor was believed to have lived in the late Cretaceous period or around 80 to 85 million years ago and like all dromeosaurs, velociraptors were known to be carnivorous and attack other dinosaurs as shown when a fossil was discovered where a velociraptor and a protoceratops were found together. The velociraptor had slashed the protocertatops, however it had also ended up impaled by the protoceratop's horn. Still, it was quite incredible that the velociraptor managed to go after and kill prey much larger than themselves.

Here's said velociraptor and proceratops fossil!

They may seem like one of the least intimidating dinosaurs but the velociraptor's similarity to birds is interesting alongside their ability to survive so well despite their size.They're definitely one of the more impressive dinosaur species, at least to me! I'm interested in seeing how much more people will uncover about the velociraptor in the future and if they'll be able to prove links between dromeosaurs and birds in general but for now - that's all I have to say on velociraptors.

Thanks for reading! Till next time.

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    Posted March 5th, 2016 at 9:59 PM by Castform Castform is online now