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velociraptor

 

 

SPECIES: Velociraptor

TIME PERIOD: Late Cretaceous

DINOSAUR TYPE: Theropod

SIZE: 7-15 Kilograms

LENGTH: 1.5-2 Meters

FOSSIL SITES: Mongolia, China, and Russia?

 

The first fossils of Velociraptor were found by Roy Chapman Andrews' American Museum of Natural History Mongolian expedition team in 1924.

This species is known from at least six fragmentary to complete specimens from the Upper Cretaceous strata of the Djadochta and Barun Goyot Formations of Mongolia.

Velociraptor is also the best known dromaeosaur beyond Deinonychus.

In life Velociraptor was built for speed. It was lightly built, with hollow bones and strong muscles. Its tail was stiffened by bony rods, and was straightened for balance. The skull of Velociraptor was long, light, and contained a powerful set of jaws lined with sharp teeth. Velociraptor was obviously a very powerful and agile predatory and carnivorous theropod.

But, its jaws were not its only weapons used to catch prey. The long, powerful arms of Velociraptor ended with three clawed fingers. The feet of Velociraptor contained four clawed digits, with the second toe ending in a long, sharp, piercing six inch claw.

This claw was able to rotate nearly 360 degrees, and was an unmatched lethal weapon in Late Cretaceous Mongolia. This claw was undoubtedly used to catch, hold, and then kill prey.

The skull of Velociraptor was another of its most deadly weapons. Not only did it contain sharp teeth and a hinged jaw that was able to open very wide, but the head of Velociraptor contained the most useful weapon of all: a large brain. The brain of Velociraptor was incredibly large for its body size, making up as astounding 5.8 percent of its total body weight. In comparison a human's brain makes up 7.4 percent of its total body weight, a figure that is not much larger than that of Velociraptor. The Velociraptor also had large eye sockets, which has led paleontologists to hypothesize that it had very good sight, another feature vital to hunting.

It has been postulated that Velociraptors were pack hunters, as seen in the movie Jurassic Park. This idea is not universally accepted and is still a bit controversial, but it is likely that Velociraptors may have been social pack hunters. In life the Velociraptor wouldn't have grown more than 6 feet long, and wasn't much larger than a human. The size seen in Jurassic Park was wrong, and the dinosaur seen in that movie more closely matched Deinonychus, a North American cousin to the Velociraptor. Velociraptor lived 85-80 million years ago in what is now Asia and possibly Eastern Europe. Its name is translated 'quick plunderer,' a fitting name for a quick, agile, intelligent, and deadly dinosaur.

Good Velociraptor fossils can be seen in the Mongolian State Museum in Ulan Bataar, the Polish Academy of Science, and the Gobi Dinosaur traveling exhibit. One of these fossils, discovered in the 1960's by a Polish team, is renowned world wide as one of the few times where behavior has fossilized. This outstanding specimen shows a Velociraptor and Protoceratops locked in a fight, with one of the Velociraptor's hands locked in the mouth of the Protoceratops and the other in the stomach. It is likely that the fight occurred during a freak sandstorm, when the two were quickly buried, killed, and fossilized, giving us a rare glimpse into the real world of dinosaurs. This fossil was recently on exhibit at New York's American Museum of Natural History.

fuente:  http://www.geocities.com/stegob/photosvelociraptor.html