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Velociraptor ("Swift Robber") was one of the most deadly predators for its size. The first specimen was found during the 1923 trek through the Gobi Desert in Mongolia by famed paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. The fossil was ignored for decades, but changing views on the nature of dinosaurs helped paleontologists to finally begin to understand Velociraptor and its relatives.

During the Late Cretaceous, when Velociraptor thrived in Mongolia, the Gobi Desert was inhabited by many dinosaur species and even some ancient mammals. Packs of Velociraptor may have hunted near sand dunes and around ponds and streams. Their favorite prey seems to have been Protoceratops, a stout, sheep-sized herbivorous dinosaur with a bony shield on its head and a sharp beak.

Velociraptor was not very large for a predator. What it lacked in size, it made up for in firepower. Velociraptor's eyes were angled forward, giving it a good degree of depth perception. The brain, though not large by mammalian standards, was large and complex for a dinosaur. It seemed highly developed in areas that would have given it strong vision and a keen sense of smell. The teeth were sharply serrated and angled backwards for gripping and slicing through meat. Velociraptor's arms were long and ended in large, sharp claws. that were ideal for clutching prey. With its long legs, scientists estimate it could run up to 40 mph. Its long stiff tail aided in maneuvering while running and leaping. The most dramatic feature of Velociraptor and its relatives (Deinonychus, Dromaeosaurus, and the gigantic Utahraptor) was the sickle-like killing claws on the inside toe of each foot.

With these physical attributes, one can imagine Velociraptor using its speed to overtake and leap onto the side of its prey. The massive hand claws and curved teeth held onto the victim. The death blow was delivered as the giant sickle-like foot claws raked across the belly, disemboweling the animal. An entire pack of Velociraptors would be capable of taking down rather large prey. In spite of Velociraptor's small size, its speed, intellegence, and weaponry made it one of the most fearsome predatory dinosaurs.

Velociraptor mongoliensis Osborn, 1924, Family: Dromaeosauridae, Height: 3-4 feet, Length: 7 feet.

Velociraptor mongoliensis
<i>Velociraptor mongoliensis</i> Quantity in Basket: None
Code: SCU-100
Price: $140.00
Shipping Weight: 1.32 pounds
Time: Late Cretaceous Period (Campanian) 76 million years ago.
Location: Djadokhta Formation of Mongolia
Dimensions: 11" x 8" x 1-1/2"

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