Known from fossils found in Upper Cretaceous sediments from China, Russia and Mongolia, Velociraptor is one of the most popular of prehistoric animals and it features regularly in Everything Dinosaur’s annual survey of the top ten most popular dinosaurs amongst children.
This dinosaur’s fame can be attributed to a number of factors, firstly, its appearance in the “Jurassic Park” film franchise and also for its deserved reputation for being a particularly fearsome, carnivorous dinosaur. It is no surprise then, when Schleich the model maker based in Germany, adds a second Velociraptor replica to its “World of History Prehistoric Life” model range.
Perhaps the best known of all the Dromaeosaurids, Velociraptor, or to use its scientific name Velociraptor mongoliensis, was formally named and described back in 1924. This year marks the ninetieth anniversary of the scientific description of “the speedy robber”, a dinosaur that measured around two metres in length and weighed approximately fifteen kilogrammes when fully grown – about the size of a Thanksgiving turkey.
Colourful, Hand-painted Replica
The Schleich Velociraptor has been painted a light green colour with flashes of blood-red along its back and flanks. Although most palaeontologists now believe that this little dinosaur was covered in a coat of downy feathers, Schleich have chosen to augment their model with just a row of filaments running down the arms. There has been fossil evidence presented to suggest that this meat-eater probably did have a row of feathers along the forearm, but there are no feathers depicted elsewhere on this model. Velociraptor from Schleich has a very reptilian appearance as a result.
This dinosaur is balanced on its three front toes, that is digits numbered two, three and four, with the first toe touching the ground behind the foot. This is an unusual posture, many palaeontologists believe that the first toe was too small to touch the ground. In addition, that terrible killing toe claw (the second toe) is placed firmly on the ground and not raised as depicted in other Velociraptor replicas. Schleich may have chosen this stance as a compromise, attempting to reflect a little bit of the known posture of this dinosaur with its long, straight tail sticking out behind it with the need to ensure the model stands up and balances. The second toe claw is larger than the rest of the toe claws, which does accurately reflect the fossil evidence.
Articulated Jaw and Moveable Arms
Unlike Schleich’s earlier Velociraptor model, this replica has moveable arms. The dinosaur’s arms can be moved, this will prove popular with young dinosaur fans and enhance this model’s play value. In addition, the lower jaw is articulated so this replica can be posed either mouth closed or mouth open, or indeed, anywhere in between.
The Velociraptor is very well painted and the skin texture has been skilfully crafted and there is a lot of detail to admire, especially around the head and the neck. All in all, an intriguing replica which will prove, no doubt, to be very popular amongst young dinosaur fans.