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The ultimate Velociraptor Q&A

Tuesday 6th September 2022
Written by: Marketing Team
Velociraptor Skull

At some point or other, I think we’ve all had questions about the quick and cunning velociraptor made famous (or infamous) by the original 1993 Jurassic Park movie, which propelled velociraptors into the limelight. So we’ve found the answers to those questions and today we are sharing them with you. The question is… are you ready?

Due to archaeological discoveries and advances in science, we actually know quite a lot about velociraptors but the general public still have many misconceptions about these wonderful animals and we would like to change that.

Today we’ll be looking at these fabulous feathered (yes, you read that right!) friends and sorting the facts from the fiction when it comes to velociraptors. Let’s start at the beginning shall we?

Are velociraptors real?

Velociraptors are real animals that existed in the past, however they are now extinct.

So, while they are absolutely not fictional creatures, you definitely aren’t going to run into one in the rainforest in the 21st century.

Velociraptors were alive between 85.8 and 70.6 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.

Are the Jurassic Park raptors real?

Yes and no.

To complicate matters, the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park were based on a real dinosaur… but that dinosaur was not the Velociraptor. The raptors in Jurassic Park were much bigger than the Velociraptor and they were, in fact, based on the larger Deinonychus.

Deinonychus was a larger dromaeosaurid species and is closely related to Velociraptor but they are not the same dinosaur and Deinonychus actually lived in the Early Cretaceous period; 115-108 million years ago.

To summarise: The animal Jurassic Park raptors are based on is real but it is not the Velociraptor.

When were velociraptors discovered?

The first fossil was discovered in 1923 in the Mongolian Desert and Velociraptors were named by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1924.

The name Velociraptor means Speedy Thief as it was made up of the Latin words “velox” (swift) and “raptor” (plunderer).

There are 2 known species of Velociraptor: V. mongoliensis and V. osmolskae. The latter was discovered in 2008.

Were Velociraptors carnivores?

Absolutely. Velociraptors were meat-eating predators who hunted and scavenged their food.

How big were Velociraptors?

This might surprise you but Velociraptors were only around the size of a turkey, weighing around 15kg. They were roughly 50 cm tall and 2 metres in length.

While Velociraptors were significantly smaller than the movie depictions that captured our imaginations, they were quick and had very fast teeth and you probably still wouldn’t want to mess with one.

Could a velociraptor open a door?

It really would depend on the type of door handle and which way the door opened.

A Velociraptor’s wrist wouldn’t rotate in the way needed to open a door with a round door handle and it would have struggled to have the dexterity to pull a door inwards. However, it should be able to manage a door handle that simply needed to be pushed down on a door that opens outwards.

Having said that, most door handles are positions too high up for Velociraptors to be able to reach and get any leverage, so there would also need to be something it could stand on within reach of the handle.

Is a Velociraptor faster than a cheetah?

No. The Cheetah is faster than the Velociraptor. Cheetah’s are known to reach speeds of 80-130 km/h while Velociraptors are thought to have been able to attain short bursts of speed up to 40 km/h.

In fact, the Velociraptor isn’t even the fastest dinosaur and is trumped by the Struthiomimus, which is thought to have run at around 60 km/h and could possibly be the fastest dinosaur.

Velociraptor Skull

Did Velociraptor hunt in packs?

Evidence suggests that Velociraptors hunted alone. We know this because their diets change and develop as they age, which isn’t something we see in pack animals.

Velociraptors were excellent hunters that were mainly nocturnal and had an acute sense of smell. They would have hunted small animals and scavenged from larger carcases killed by bigger predators.

When did Velociraptors go extinct?

The most recently dated Velociraptor fossil is from around 70 million years ago, however it is possible that it was still around after that and we simply happen to not have found any fossilised remains.

4 million years after the Velociraptor no longer appears in the fossil record, the asteroid collided with Earth and caused a mass extinction event that wiped out 75% of all the species on the planet. All non-avian dinosaurs went extinct during the mass extinction.

What is the lifespan of a velociraptor?

We don’t know exactly how long a Velociraptor would have lived but it is possible that they lived for 10 or maybe even 15-20 years.

If you’d like to learn more about Velociraptors read our Amazing Velociraptors Facts!

Experience the speed and dexterity of a Velociraptor at Paultons Park

At Paultons Park we have a dinosaur themed zone called the Lost Kingdom where you can go on your own prehistoric adventure and ride the breathtaking Velociraptor family coaster that sweeps around tight bends and high drops, reaching speeds of 40 mph. And, just when you think you’ve experienced all the thrills this rollercoaster has to offer, you do it all again but this time in reverse!

The Lost Kingdom has dinosaur themed rides and attractions suitable for the whole family – there really is something for everyone.

Here in the Lost Kingdom you’ll find thrilling rides, family attractions and come face to face with dinosaurs at every turn. Join us on a prehistoric adventure and book your tickets today.

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