Velociraptor Click to enlarge image
Image: James Reece
© James Reece/Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Family
    Dromaeosauridae
  • Feeding Habits
    carnivorous

Introduction

Velociraptor mongoliensis was a small meat-eating dinosaur that lived in China and Mongolia 80 million years ago.

Identification

Velociraptor mongoliensis had:

  • dagger-like teeth and a light, agile body, with long legs and fingers;
  • a large brain, lightly built skull, a wishbone, breastbone and long arms;
  • a half-moon-shaped bone in its wrist making it possible to swivel its wrist to the side in a flapping motion and to fold its arm against its body like a bird.
  • a deadly sickle-like claw on its foot, clasping hands and many bird-like features.

Fossil cast Velociraptor mongoliensis
Velociraptor mongoliensis skull (cast). Mongolia, Late Cretaceous, 84 - 65 million years ago. Image: Robert Jones
© Australian Museum

Fossils description

Velociraptor mongoliensis was first discovered in 1924 in what is now the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Its name means 'swift robber from Mongolia' in reference to its possible habit of robbing dinosaur eggs from nests.

Evolutionary relationships

Velociraptor mongoliensis was a theropod called a dromaeosaur. It belonged to the family Dromaeosauridae, which occurred in the Northern Hemisphere during the Cretaceous.