|Named By:||Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1924|
|Time Period:||Late Cretaceous, 75-71 Ma|
|Location:||Mongolia, Barun Goyot Formation, Djadochta Formation|
|Size:||2 meters long|
|Fossil(s):||Many fossilised skeletons|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Reptilia | Dinosauria | Saurischia | Theropoda | Tetanurae | Coelurosauria | Dromaeosauridae ||
Velociraptor (meaning "swift seizer" in Latin) is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period. Two species are currently recognized, although others have been assigned in the past. The type species is V. mongoliensis; fossils of this species have been discovered in Mongolia. A second species, V. osmolskae, was named in 2008 for skull material from Inner Mongolia, China.
Smaller than other dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and Achillobator, Velociraptor nevertheless shared many of the same anatomical features. It was a bipedal, feathered carnivore with a long tail and an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot, which is thought to have been used to tackle and disembowel prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout.
Velociraptor (commonly shortened to "raptor") is one of the dinosaur genera most familiar to the general public due to its prominent role in the Jurassic Park motion picture series. In real life, however, Velociraptor was roughly the size of a turkey, considerably smaller than the approximately 2 m (7 ft) tall 80 kg (180 lb) reptiles seen in the films. Today, Velociraptor is well known to paleontologists, with over a dozen described fossil skeletons, the most of any dromaeosaurid. One particularly famous specimen preserves a Velociraptor locked in combat with a Protoceratops.