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What can we learn from velociraptor bones?

A:

Quick Answer

Everything we know about velociraptors is determined through examining their fossilized bones and the bone's surroundings. By measuring velociraptor bones, scientists have determined that velociraptors grew to 6 feet in length and weighed between 30 and 40 pounds. Visually inspecting the bones shows that velociraptors had a small, tapered head with sharp, pointed teeth and claws on all four feet.

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Full Answer

The construction of a velociraptor's skeleton tells scientists it moved very rapidly. When the first bones were discovered in the Gobi Desert in 1922, Henry F. Osborn, director of the American Museum of Natural History, named the species velociraptor, meaning "swift thief" in Greek. Velociraptor bones have been found alongside their prey, so scientists know definitively that velociraptors ate small mammals and other small to medium dinosaurs. Velociraptor teeth and claws, their ability to move quickly and the knowledge of what they ate proves they were vicious hunters. Their small size, however, would have kept them from being a top predator. It is not possible to determine exactly what a velociraptor looked like through a study of their bones. Until a few years ago, artists drew velociraptors as green-scaled, reptilian-like creatures. Currently, artists portray velociraptors with brightly colored, primitive-looking feathers.

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