Velociraptor mongoliensis -Osborn, 1924- skull
Archosauria: Saurischia: Maniraptora: Dromeosauridae
Locality: Shabarak Usu, Gobi Desert, southeastern Mongolia
Age: Late Cretaceous (Campanian), 75 million years ago
The maniraptoran theropods are represented at the exhibit by some dromaeosaurs, oviraptorids, and avimimids. These dinosaurs have never reached such huge size as the carnosaurs. All maniraptorans are distinguished from the latter by well-developed, long and powerful forelimbs. They were definitely bipedal like the carnosaurs, and did not use the forelimbs for support when walking. The dromaeosaurs were medium-sized predators with a large sickle-like talon on the inner toe. The earliest dromaeosaur Deinonychus comes from the Early Cretaceous of North America. In the Late Cretaceous several genera of dromaeosaurs are known from North America and Central Asia (Velociraptor).
Velociraptor was closely related to the North American Deinonychus. Not
massive like Tyrannosaurus or Tarbosaurus, this smaller dinosaur was a fierce
predator, being quick and agile, as is portrayed in the movie 'Jurassic Park'.
Unfortunately, the producers of 'Jurassic Park' felt compelled to make the movie
Velociraptor 400% larger than the fossil record would indicate. This perhaps
sold 400% more videos. Velociraptor was probably the size of a Great Dane. For
its size, proportionally its brain was the largest of any dinosaur.
Skeletons of Velociraptor have been found with those of
their presumed prey, Protoceratops. The Velociraptor
had a firm hold on the crown of the Protoceratops, which may have
punctured the chest of the carnivore with its head.
Both perished as a result of the encounter.
Velociraptor had a elongated skull with a flat nose and long, functional arms.
One toe on each foot was large and shaped like a sickle-it would have
caused a lot of carnage! It could also have done much damage with its
dagger-shaped teeth that were serrated like a saw.
Velociraptor had large eyes and probably had three-dimensional vision.