The Velociraptor is an extinct member of the genus of dinosaurs that lived around 75 to 71 million years ago. It was called Velociraptor in 1924 by the then president of the American Museum of National History, Fairfield Osborn. Velociraptor is a name derived from the Latin words “Velox” and “raptor”. Velox means speed while raptor means robbed or looter. Currently, only two species of Velociraptor are recognized, although in the past others have been assigned. The two species are Velociraptor mongoliensis and Velociraptor osmolskae called in 2008.
Like most dromaeosaurids, the Velociraptor was a bipedal animal with feathers and a long tail. The tail was formed from hard bones fused together and since it was so inflexible, the tail probably helped to balance the Velociraptor when it ran, jumped or hunted prey. Each rear foot of the Velociraptor had a widened sickle-shaped claw. The Velociraptor, however, had a low and long skull reaching ten inches which distinguished it from the other dromaeosaurids, but it also had an upturned snout that was long and shallow. The snout was composed of about 60% of the entire length of the skull. It was also smaller in size than other dromaeosaurids. Adult Velociraptor has grown about 6.8 feet in length, 1.5 feet tall and 33 pounds in weight. Velociraptor jaws had between 26 and 28 teeth spaced on each side. The back of the teeth was more serrated than the front.
The Velociraptor was a carnivorous animal that spent most of its time digging and preying on small reptiles, mammals, insects, amphibians and small dinosaurs. Remains of a Velociraptor fighting with protoceratops, a sheep-sized herbivore was found buried in the sand by a sandstorm or a falling dune. The two were locked in a deep grip with one of the Velociraptor claws embedded in the protoceratops neck and the protoceratops that bite and probably broke the arm of the Velociraptor. The specimen is widely known as a fighting dinosaur and it is evident that the Velociraptor was a carnivore, although attacks on large animals were rare. In 2008, another protoceratops fossil was found with marker marks of Velociraptor teeth but also a pair of teeth belonging to the Velociraptor or another dromaeosaurid. The analysis of protoceratopus remains showed that the bird of prey did not kill the protoceratops but fed on its remains that had little meat.
During the first expedition of the American Museum of Natural History in August 1923, Peter Kaisen discovered the first Velociraptor fossil in the Gobi Desert of Outer Mongolia, and the fossil was that of a crushed skull and a foot claw. Velociraptor fossils have been found in northern China and in the Gobi desert in southern Mongolia. The mongoliensis species have only been found in the Djadochta formation in the Mongol province of Omnogivi. The osmolskae species was found in the formation of Bayan Mandahu in Mongolia, China. Velociraptor is well known to the general public thanks to the film Jurassic Park directed by Stephen Spielberg. After the Velociraptor was designed in the Jurassic Park films, a raptor skeleton called “super slasher” was discovered in Utah.