Velociraptor is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period. Two species are currently recognized, although others have been assigned in the past. The type species is V. mongoliensis; fossils of this species have been discovered in Mongolia. A second species, V. osmolskae, was named in 2008 for skull material from Inner Mongolia, China.
Smaller than other dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and Achillobator, Velociraptor nevertheless shared many of the sameanatomical features. It was a bipedal, feathered carnivore with a long tail and an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot, which is thought to have been used to tackle prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout.
Velociraptor (commonly shortened to “raptor”) is one of the dinosaur genera most familiar to the general public due to its prominent role in the Jurassic Park motion picture series. When the movie was in Pre-Production, sneak-peek interviews were given in the press, such as Time Magazine. Dinosaur fans complained that director Steven Spielberg had made his Velociraptors much larger than they were in real life. However, Steven Spielberg was concerned with accuracy in the dinosaurs in general, and so had his effects team keep a close eye on research and discoveries in the Dromaeosauridae family while he was in production. In 1991, Dr. James Kirkland unearthed with his student Rob Gaston a giant raptor rivaling those shown in the movie. The Utahraptor was huge, with the signature killing claws, strong arms, hands, and sharp teeth of its cinematic counterpart.
Other anatomical inaccuracies in the film may be attributed to the limited scientific data on Velociraptors in 1993 compared to today or that the dinosaurs in the movies were modeled on a combination of Utahraptor and Deinonychus. Today, Velociraptor is well known to paleontologists, with over a dozen described fossil skeletons, the most of any dromaeosaurid. One particularly famous specimen preserves a Velociraptor locked in combat with a Protoceratops.