Velociraptor (vəlŏsˈĭrăpˌtər) [key] [Gr., = swift robber], swift bipedal carnivorous dinosaur of the late Cretaceous period. It was relatively small, being approximately 6 ft (1.8 m) long. It was similar to Deinonychus in appearance and, like that dinosaur, had a lethal sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each three-toed foot, which was used for attacking prey. Fossil skeletons have been found in Mongolia. A find of particular interest, discovered in the Gobi desert in 1971, revealed a Velociraptor in the act of attacking another dinosaur, the herbivorous Protoceratops. Velociraptor belongs to the group of saurischian theropods [Gr., = beast feet] that includes Tyrannosaurus , Deinonychus, and living birds.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.