Velociraptor Velociraptor was a small theropod dinosaur belonging to the dromaeosaur group, which also included Deinonychus. It lived about 75 to 71 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period in semi-arid Mongolia. It was about 2 metres (6.6 feet) long and 0.5 metres (20 inches) high at the hip. A feathered, bipedal, carnivore, Velociraptor had a long, stiff tail, which gave it balance and stability while turning at speed. On each foot was a large sickle-shaped claw, which it almost certainly used to kill its prey. Its long, 25-centimetre (10-inch) skull had a distinctive up-turned snout. Its jaws were lined with serrated teeth.
A famous fossil discovery, unearthed in 1971, has been named the "Fighting Dinosaurs". It features a Velociraptor and Protoceratops apparently locked in combat. Some palaeontologists think it is possible that the two animals killed each other in the fight. The Velociraptor's toe-claw is preserved lodged in the throat of the much larger Protoceratops. The Protoceratops appears to be biting down on the Velociraptor's right arm. More likely, the two died in a sandstorm that blew up suddenly while they were fighting.
Other Protoceratops fossils show evidence of Velociraptor teeth-marks, but palaeontologists suspect these came as a result of scavenging by the predator on the already-dead Protoceratops.
The name Velociraptor comes from the Latin words velox, meaning "swift", and raptor, meaning "robber".
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