Velociraptor (vuh-lah-sr-ap-tr) is a genus of predatory dinosaur that lived in Asia during the Late Cretaceous. It has become perhaps the second-most famous predatory dinosaur ever after Tyrannosaurus.
Velociraptor, while a formidable predator, was much smaller than some other dromaeosaurs. It could exceed 2 meters in length, and could reach half a meter in height. Large Velociraptor might have exceeded 15 kg.
One of its most defining features are the large claws it possessed on its toes. Another defining feature is its coating of feathers, which some discoveries have confirmed it almost certainly possessed. Despite this, it is often portrayed without feathers in popular media.
The living creature
Velociraptor would have been a potent predator capable of taking on prey larger than itself and disemboweling them with its claws. Irrefutable evidence shows a predator-prey relationship between Velociraptor and the Ceratopsian dinosaur Protoceratops. It has also been suggested that Velociraptor was partially a scavenger.
Analysis of the scleral rings, bones within the eyes, seem to indicate that Velociraptor was mostly nocturnal.
Velociraptor has become one of the best known predatory dinosaurs, due in part to its appearance in the film Jurassic Park. While this restoration was grossly over sized and outdated, similar appearances of Velociraptor in popular media are not uncommon.
The "fighting dinosaurs" specimen that preserves a Velociraptor attacking a Protoceratops has become one of the most famous and important dinosaur specimens. The animals were probably buried quickly in sand due to their vivid and lifelike postures.