Although much smaller than the “Velociraptors” depicted in the Jurassic Park trilogy, this little theropod dinosaur was armed with a seven centimetre long, strongly curved second toe claw and it possessed about eighty sharp teeth in its jaws. Described by some palaeontologists as being “poodle-sized”, it may have been one of the smaller “raptors”, but its vicious reputation as so successfully portrayed in the cinema was strongly deserved.
An Illustration of Velociraptor
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Like all members of the Dromaeosauridae (swift lizards), this dinosaur had a long, stiff tail. The tail could not be raised very high, but it could be moved from side to side. It has been speculated that the tail functioned like a rudder to help the animal to balance as it ran. It probably fed on small lizards, mammals, baby dinosaurs and even dinosaur eggs, but in a pack it would have been capable of mobbing and bringing down much larger prey.
As for its vicious reputation, this is well deserved. It was probably a cannibal too. A baby Velociraptor skull has been discovered with two little holes in the top. The teeth of an adult Velociraptor fit perfectly into these holes – nasty critter that Velociraptor (Velociraptor mongoliensis).