10 Facts You Might Not Know About Velociraptors

Pretty much everyone can attest to having at least a passing interest in dinosaurs. Maybe it was while you were a kid and you were learning about them through books and movies, or perhaps your interest has grown as you’ve gotten older. When it comes to the most talked about dinosaurs that have the biggest reputation surrounding them, the Velociraptor is right near the top of the list.

This year’s Velociraptor Awareness Day, taking place on April 18, can be the perfect opportunity to learn all you can about this beast. It was a very intimidating dinosaur, one that could hold its own against many other types. But that’s just one interesting piece of information about Velociraptors – raptors for short.

To brush up on your knowledge, here are 10 fun facts about raptors.

Velociraptors Didn’t Hunt in Packs

Velociraptor pack in a forest, hunting
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dotted Yeti

Plenty has been said through television and movies that showed velociraptors hunting in packs. While there is no solid way to prove this isn’t true, there is also nothing that’s been uncovered to prove this was the case. Thanks to new research from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, there is no reason to believe they weren’t solitary hunters.

They would use the claws on their back legs to kill their prey. Then, they would bite into their prey with their 13 to 15 teeth in the upper jaw, and the same amount in their lower jaw. Their teeth were also serrated, which made it easy to cut through the meat.

The First Fossil of the Velociraptor Was Found in 1923

Velociraptor dinosaur fossil remains in stone
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Melnikov Dmitriy

In case you’re wondering how long we’ve known about the existence of Velociraptors, it’s more than 100 years now. The first fossils were found in 1923 in the Gobi Desert in Outer Mongolia. The find consisted of a sickle-shaped claw and a crushed skull. There have been plenty more fossils discovered since then that pieced the dinosaur together.

They Were Alive During One of the Most Well-Known Periods

Velociraptor Dinosaur on the mountain
Image Credit: Shutterstock / kamomeen

Dinosaurs existed on Earth for about 165 million years, which is shocking when you think about it. Different periods saw different types of dinosaurs roaming the earth. The Velociraptor existed during the Cretaceous period, which was approximately 71 to 75 million years ago.

When they were roaming the earth they were far from alone. In fact, some of the most well-known dinosaurs also existed during this time. These included the Albertosaurus, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the Mosasaurs.

Velociraptors Were Much Smaller Than People Think

Compsognathus longipes in the forest, group of dinosaurs from the Late Jurassic period
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dotted Yeti

You can thank big-screen movies for this mistake, but most people assume the velociraptor was around the size of an adult, maybe a bit smaller. That wasn’t the case at all though, as they were more like the size of a large chicken. It is estimated that they were two feet in height and about six feet long, including their tail. They weighed about 30 lbs, much smaller than an adult.

Their small size didn’t mean they weren’t dangerous though, so don’t let size fool you.

Velociraptors Had Something in Common with Birds – Feathers

Munster Natural History Museum, Germany: velociraptor or deinonychus with plumage
Image Credit: Shutterstock / frantic00

Most people are used to seeing Velociraptors depicted with scaly skin, much like so many other dinosaurs we are familiar with. That was the common belief for a long time, but it has now been discovered that they likely had feathers. The Velociraptor is believed to be closer to the smaller raptors that were feathered and came before the Velociraptor by millions of years.

As for how many feathers they had, what they were like, and what color they were, that is still unanswered. Just the fact they had feathers was shocking enough.

Their Legs Impeded Their Ability to Run Fast

Velociraptor in the forest.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Orla

Here’s something else you may not know about Velociraptors: they weren’t that fast. Sure, they could run but not like other dinosaurs that could run at speeds of 50 mph and even more.

Due to the Velociraptor’s turkey-shaped legs, which were also quite short, this would have impeded their ability to run fast. Some have even said that a toddler likely could have outrun a Velociraptor. The good news is, they aren’t around for people to find out!

Velociraptors Were Scavengers and Carnivores

Feathered velociraptor with open mouth in jurassic land with volcano in the background.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Noiel

In terms of what they ate, they were carnivores and also scavenged for food. It is believed they would typically eat small things like insects, amphibians, reptiles, baby dinosaurs, eggs, and mammals.

No, They Weren’t Ridiculously Smart

Velociraptor walking through the forest.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Orla

Velociraptors were able to hold their own and were certainly “smart”, but only in terms of dinosaurs. They weren’t some sort of genius dinosaur that could map out elaborate plans. They did, however, communicate with each other. Scientists believe it sounded like squawks, murmurs, and rumbling hums. Of course, these are just estimates since there is no way to know for sure.

There Is a Chance Velociraptors Were Warm-Blooded

Photography of Velociraptor in outdoor
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jaime Calderon

Here’s another interesting piece of information about the Velociraptor. Scientists believe some signs may point to the Velociraptor being a warm-blooded animal, much like the mammals of today. This means it may have been able to create internal energy and not need the sun.

Jurassic Park’s Famous Raptors Aren’t Velociraptors

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kathy Hutchins

Finally, if you became interested in Velociraptors after watching the blockbuster Jurassic Park movies and the subsequent Jurassic World movies, you’re in for a big surprise. What’s depicted in the movie as a velociraptor was modeled after the Deinonychus antirrhopus. They were known to be bigger and therefore much more intimidating looking than a Velociraptor. It’s a case of Hollywood using some creative freedom to make things work for the movie.

Not only did the Deinonychus antirrhopus look different, but it also was around 30 million years before the Velociraptor existed.

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