When you watch the movie, “Jurassic Park,” one of the creatures that you encounter is the Velociraptor, which lived during the Cretaceous Period. In this article, you will hear a bit about this dinosaur, as well as another species , the lesser-known Dromaeosaurus.
About the Cretaceous Period
The Cretaceous Period is acknowledged as the geologic time period that lasted about 145 to 65 million years ago. It occurs after the Jurassic Period and is followed by the Paleogene Period of the Cenozoic Era. The Cretaceous is also considered the youngest period of the Mesozoic Era. During this time, the climate was relatively warm and the sea level had increased. Oceans and seas were now home to marine reptiles that are no longer living. Ammonite and other creatures dwelled in the waters. An increasing number of new mammal and bird groups start to appear. Flowering plants make an entrance into the geologic record.
Sadly, the Cretaceous ended with one of the largest mass extinctions that the Earth had seen. It was dubbed the ‘K-T extinction’ and many species, including pterosaurs, dinosaurs, and large marine creatures simply vanished off the face of the planet.
The first Velociraptor found was in Mongolia by a man named Henry. F. Osborn in 1924. Interestingly, the fossils of the dinosaur are generally located in dry desert regions, such as China, Russia, and Mongolia. This species of dinosaur lived about 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period.
When the Velociraptor appeared in the film, ‘Jurassic Park,’ one important characteristic was left out , the dinosaur actually had feathers. The creature is best described as a biped (walking on two legs) that had a long, stiff tail and sickle-shaped claws on each back foot. This feature is believed to have played a role in killing their prey. Other characteristics of this dinosaur include a low skull and upturned snout.
Today, there are more than 12 full fossil structures that have been found to represent the species. More than 50 partial fossils have also emerged for researchers to investigate. This makes the Velociraptor one of the most heavily researched of the dinosaurs hailing from any time period.
With a name that translates into ‘Running Lizard,’ the fossils of the Dromaeosaurus have been found in Alberta, Canada, and Montana. Yet, a full body and head together has never been found. The two regions showcase a scattering of many different body parts, including heads, limbs, teeth, and ribs. The first time the dinosaur was discovered was along the Red Deer River in 1914 by Barnum Brown. This was followed by multiple finds of the dinosaur’s teeth.
Scientists concluded that the dinosaur must have attacked other dinosaurs that were much larger in size. Interestingly, the dinosaur was probably the size of a dog. Other features of the Dromaeosaurus included strong build, powerful legs, very thick skull, powerful jaws, and possibly a heavily feathered body (according to some researchers).