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Dinosaurs
by: Zoe S., Grade: 3


Velociraptor Information; researched by zoe .

The fearsome reputation of Velociraptor has earned it a place among the most familiar of dinosaurs.The name Velociraptor means “quick plunderer.” This dinosaur was named for its speed and agility when huntingits prey. Velociraptor was also intelligent and cunning, which made it a deadly predator. It belongs to the group of dinosaurs called dromaeosaurs, popularly known as raptors, or “terrible-clawed lizards.”

Where and when Velociraptor lived

Velociraptor lived about 99 to 65 million years ago, during the last part of the period of the Earth's history known as the Cretaceous. Fossil remains of Velociraptor have been found in Asia. The most amazing discovery was made in Mongolia. There scientists uncovered the skeleton of a Velociraptor locked in a battle to the death with a horned dinosaur called Protoceratops. The Velociraptor had the head frillof its victim gripped in its hand while slashing open its throat andbelly with its deadly clawed feet. Protoceratops had the right armof Velociraptor clamped firmly in its beaklike jaws. Both dinosaurswere apparently victims of a sudden sandstorm. This famous scene is among the greatest dinosaur fossil discoveries. It presents a picture of the violent struggle for survival during prehistoric times. Velociraptor lived in both desert and wooded regions of prehistoric Asia.

Physical features

Velociraptor was a small dinosaur that stood and ran on its two back legs. It reached a length of about 6feet (2 meters) and weighed up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms). The most striking feature of Velociraptor was the curved, sickle-shaped claw on each foot. This claw was held straight up as Velociraptor walked or ran. Velociraptor had long, muscular legs and arms, and its hands were made for grasping. The head of Velociraptor was low and long, and its snout was flat, which distinguished it from other raptors. Its jaws contained razor-sharp teeth that were made for ripping apart flesh. Velociraptor had a stiff tail.

Behavior

Velociraptor was a meat-eating dinosaur. It often preyed upon smaller plant-eating dinosaurs, such small reptiles as lizards and snakes, and small mammals. Velociraptor used its sickle-shaped claw to kill its victims by slashing them. Its stiff tail allowed it to balance while using this lethal weapon. Its grasping hands and jagged teeth allowed it to easily capture prey. Velociraptor was an intelligent animal and most likely hunted in packs to bring down larger dinosaurs. Scientists believe that it was also an ambush predator, chasing down its victims quickly after pouncing on them from a hiding spot. Velociraptor swallowed chunks of meat in gulps, rather than chewing it as some other meat-eating dinosaurs did. Although fossil discoveries proved that Velociraptor was a great hunter, scientists believe that it also was a scavenger, meaning that it fed upon dead animals.

Velociraptor was an agile carnivorous, or meat-eating, dinosaurthat inhabited Asia during the late Cretaceous period, approximately 65 to 99 million years ago. Velociraptoris classified as a member of the familyDromaeosauridae, which includes dinosaurs with an especially large and deadly sickle-shaped claw. Velociraptor belongs to the order Saurischia—the lizard-hipped dinosaurs—and the suborder Theropoda.

Physical Characteristics

Velociraptor was a small dinosaur, averaging only about 6 feet (2 meters) in length and weighing approximately 100 pounds (45 kilograms). Its sleek body was lightweight and built for speed, making it an effective predator. Its head was long and narrow, its snout was somewhat flattened,and it had a fairly large brain. Its powerful jaws contained rows ofjagged teeth made for ripping apart flesh.

Locomotion and Behavior

Velociraptor was a bipedal dinosaur, meaning that it stood upright and walked or ran on its two hind limbs. Its legs were long and muscular and ended with the characteristic sickle-claw on the second toe of each foot. Thistoe was extremely flexible and enabled Velociraptor to slash open its victims with one quick downward swipe. The sickle-claw was held high up above the ground whenever this dinosaur walked or ran, probably to keep the weapon razor-sharp.

Velociraptor had fairly long forelimbs that ended in prehensile, orgrasping, hands, each equipped with three clawed toes. The tail was very rigid due to narrow, bony rods that grew out of the tail vertebrae. This tail feature enabled the dinosaur to balance itself while delivering powerful kicks to its victims with its sickle-claw.

The quickness, agility, and lightweight body of Velociraptor made it one of the top predators of its time. A fairly intelligent dinosaur, its large brain enabled it to make complex maneuvers when chasing prey. This degree of agility was unusual among dinosaurs and earned this dinosaur its name, Velociraptor, whichmeans “quick plunderer.” Velociraptor preyed mainly upon herbivores that were smaller than itself. It also hunted in packs inorder to bring down larger dinosaurs. Velociraptor was primarily an ambush predator and leapt out upon its prey in a surprise attack from behind the cover of vegetation. To bring down prey quickly, it disemboweled its victims, slashing open their undersides with its huge sickle-claw. Some evidence suggests that Velociraptor was also a scavenger that fed upon dead animals.

Fossil Evidence

Paleontologists believe that Velociraptor, like all dinosaurs, reproduced by laying eggs. Velociraptor may have stayed with its nest to defend its eggs and offspring. A fossil of another theropod, Oviraptor, was found in a nest with eggs and offspring. This evidence has caused much debate among paleontologists about parental care amongthese dinosaurs and some of their close relatives.

Amazing fossil evidence of Velociraptor was discovered in Mongolia in 1971. This discovery confirmed paleontologists' theories about the method of attack used by Velociraptor and other dromaeosaurs. A complete skeleton of the predator was found locked in a battle to the death with the horned dinosaur Protoceratops. Both were apparently victimsof a sudden sandstorm in the desert at the time of the attack. While grasping the head frill of Protoceratops, Velociraptor was inthe process of slashing open the throat and underside of its victim with its sickle-claw. At the same time, Protoceratops had the right arm of Velociraptor locked securely in its beak-like jaws. This fossil discovery clearly ranks among the greatest and most dramatic finds in paleontology.



The End.



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