The velociraptor was one of many fierce theropods that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period. As carnivores, these dinosaurs had to hunt fellow beasts for each meal. But what made the velociraptors such prolific hunters?
For starters, these beasts were quite fierce despite their small size. Find out which other key traits helped these theropods thrive.
If we look at the Latin roots of the word “velociraptor,” it translates to “swift robber.” These dinosaurs were fast hunters and scavengers. Most paleontologists believe that velociraptors could hit a sprinting speed of around 25 miles per hour. That sprint was for short spurts, which would be beneficial during hunts—the velociraptor could use that burst of energy to catch up to its target and go in for the kill.
As scavengers, velociraptors also had no qualms about stealing food from other dinosaurs if hunting appeared too difficult. This adaptability helped the species thrive and evolve.
Another quality that made the velociraptors such prolific hunters was their sharp talons. The velociraptor earned the nickname “the killer claw” for good reason! Its three-inch-long, sickle-shaped claws made ideal hunting tools and were perfect for stabbing prey. Additionally, velociraptors could use their talons to trap or hold prey in place, similar to what their modern bird descendants do.
They Were Smart
Razor-sharp claws and amazing running speeds made the velociraptor a major threat, but combine both of those with its intelligence, and weaker prey didn’t stand a chance. Although they weren’t the smartest animals of the Mesozoic Era, velociraptors had a decent level of intelligence compared to other creatures of the time.
They May Have Had Help
Some paleontologists believe velociraptors may have hunted in packs. Tracking prey in a group would increase their chances of killing other dinosaurs and having a feast. However, there isn’t much evidence that absolutely proves this theory.
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