Velociraptor was first discovered in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, during an expedition organized by the American Museum of Natural History in 1923. Velociraptor was described and named the following year. Velociraptor literally means ‘swift robber’, while the species name V. mongoliensis refers to the country where it was unearthed.
Velociraptor belongs to a group of ‘raptor’ type dinosaurs more properly known as dromaeosaurids. This group includes the Chinese Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus, which have both been found preserved with a beautiful covering of feathers. Because dromaeosaurids are so closely related, it is certain that they all, including Velociraptor, had feathers. Although no soft tissues or feathers have ever been found preserved alongside a Velociraptor skeleton, structures called ‘quill knobs’ have been identified on a Velociraptor arm. These bump-like features are also present in modern-day birds and indicate the attachment points of large arm feathers. The feathered, wing-like arms of Velociraptor were not suitable for flight, but may have been used in mating displays, to help regulate its temperature, or to help to cover their nests when they were brooding eggs.
Velociraptor was a small, carnivorous dinosaur that lived in Mongolia during the Late Cretaceous, 71 to 75 million years ago. Unlike the fictional movie counterpart that made this species famous, the real Velociraptor was only about the size of a turkey and was covered in feathers. Despite its diminutive stature and feathery appearance, Velociraptor was an effective predator that used its dangerously sharp teeth and claws to subdue small prey and other dinosaurs.
Scientific Name: Velociraptor mongoliensis
Characteristics: Velociraptor was a slender carnivore with sharp teeth and a long, stiff tail to keep it balanced. It had two long legs with three sharp-clawed toes, including an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on its first toe that was used as a fearsome weapon. In life, its body was covered in plumage and its arms supported long, wing-like feathers.
Size and Color: This accurate, feathery figure is 8.5 inches long and 2.75 inches high. Its dappled ginger plumage would help it to sneak up on unsuspecting prey in Cretaceous sand dunes.
- The Feathered Velociraptor is part of the Wild Safari® Prehistoric World collection
- All of our products are Non-toxic and BPA free