The sickle-clawed dinosaur that once inhabited central and eastern Asia 99 million years ago has gained popularity after being highlighted in the Jurassic World Movie series. But did you know their size in the movie was fictional?
Real Velociraptors are actually significantly smaller than what we think. In the Jurassic World movie, the velociraptors measure at 6 feet tall. In reality, a Velociraptor is no taller than a turkey, with a height estimated to be at 1.6 feet.
Are Velociraptors Misunderstood?
Ever since Velociraptors were featured in the new Jurassic Park films, they have been thought to be enormous scaly dinosaurs that hunted in packs with their sickle-shaped claws. Several things went wrong in the film, which spread so much misinformation about this particular dinosaur species.
According to fossils collected, Velociraptors are smaller than humans. They stand at about 1.5 to 3 feet tall, and contrary to what Chris Pratt may have said in the film, they prefer to hunt alone. They use their claw to clutch their prey and not disembowel them.
Paleontologists are still studying these amazing dinosaurs, and as their knowledge grows, we are better informed about the creatures that once ruled the earth. (Source: National Geographic)
Do Velociraptors Have Bird-Like Traits?
You’ve probably heard about the newest scientific discovery of how dinosaurs are the ancestors of the modern bird. Most scientists in the field support this theory. This stems from the evolution of theropods or predators with three toes. The Velociraptor mongoliensis and the Tyrannosaurus rex belong to this group.
The connection between the birds and dinosaurs is linked to several other traits as well. Both have hinged ankles, swivel-jointed wrists, wishbones, forward-facing toes, and yes, they too had feathers. But unlike most of their avian relatives, the dinosaurs spent their lives as land dwellers. (Source: National Geographic)
Why Did Scientists Think That Velociraptors Had Feathers?
While it has been long suspected that Velociraptors had feathers instead of reptilian scales, it was only in 2007 when a study was published. In this study, experts have pointed out how a Velociraptor fossil had quill knobs and bumps. These were found on their forearms; the same feature is seen on birds too.
In the same study, it was hypothesized that the feathers of a Velociraptor were not used in flight but may have had other purposes like; keeping warm, maneuvering while running, and attracting mates. (Source: National Geographic)
Did Velociraptors Hunt in Packs?
In the Jurassic World movie, Velociraptors were described as pack hunters. But there is little to no evidence of this trait. A study done in 2007 showed that Velociraptors were closely related to the Deinonychus. The chemical tests done revealed that both dinosaurs changed their diets as they got older. This diversity isn’t seen with pack hunters.
The name Velociraptor means quick plunderer in Latin. This describes how they are pretty efficient as hunters. They did not need to be in packs. In fact, they preferred to hunt solo. They have a keen sense of smell, which is evident by the size and shape of their skulls, The space that housed the olfactory bulbs was more prominent than other parts.
They had long, muscular legs that allowed them to make longer strides. Velociraptors were fast, traveling at 24 miles an hour. Their clawed toes help clutch their prey, and their sharp serrated teeth finish the job for them. (Source: National Geographic)