Velociraptorinae is a subfamily of the theropod group Dromaeosauridae. The earliest velociraptorines are probably Nuthetes from the United Kingdom, and possibly Deinonychus from North America. However, several indeterminate velociraptorines have also been discovered, dating to the Kimmeridgian stage, in the Late Jurassic Period. These fossils were discovered in the Langenberg quarry, Oker near Goslar, Germany.
In 2007 paleontologists studied front limb bones of Velociraptor and discovered small bumps on the surface, known as quill knobs. The same feature is present in some bird bones, and represents the attachment point for strong secondary wing feathers. This finding provided the first direct evidence that velociraptorines, like all other maniraptorans, had feathers.
While most velociraptorines were generally small animals, at least one species may have achieved gigantic sizes comparable to those found among the dromaeosaurines. So far, this unnamed giant velociraptorine is known only from isolated teeth found on the Isle of Wight, England. The teeth belong to an animal the size of dromaeosaurines of the genus Utahraptor, but they appear to belong to a velociraptorine, judging by the shape of the teeth and the anatomy of their serrations.
|Type skull of Velociraptor mongoliensis, American Museum of Natural History|
When erected by Barsbold in 1983, Velociraptorinae was conceived as a group containing Velociraptor and supposed closely related species. It was not until 1998 that this group was defined as a clade by Paul Sereno. Sereno defined the group as all dromaeosaurids more closely related to Velociraptor than to Dromaeosaurus. While several studies have since recovered a group of dromaeosaurids closely related to Velociraptor, they vary widely regarding which species are actually velociraptorines and which are either more basal or closer to Dromaeosaurus.
Novas and Pol (2005) found a distinct velociraptorine clade close to the traditional view, which included Velociraptor, Deinonychus, and material that was later named Tsaagan. A cladistic analysis conducted by Turner et al. (2012) also supported a traditional, monophyletic of Velociraptorinae. However, some studies found a very different group of dromaeosaurids in velociraptorinae, such as Longrich and Currie (2009), which found Deinonychus to be a non-velociraptorine, non-dromaeosaurine eudromaeosaur, and Saurornitholestes to be a member of a more basal group they named Saurornitholestinae. A larger analysis in 2013 found some traditional velociraptorines, such as Tsaagan, to be more basal than Velociraptor, while others to be more closely related to Dromaeosaurus, making them dromaeosaurines. This study found Balaur, previously found to be a velociraptorine by most analyses, to be an avialan instead.
A diagnosis is a statement of the anatomical features of an organism (or group) that collectively distinguish it from all other organisms. The diagnosis of a taxonomic group of organisms includes the traits, known as synapomorphies, that are shared by two or more organisms in the group and are believed to have been present in their most recent common ancestor.
According to Currie (1995), Velociraptorinae can be distinguished based on the following characteristics:
According to Turner et al. (2012), Velociraptorinae can be distinguished based on the following unambiguous characteristics:
Acheroraptor is an extinct genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur known from the latest Maastrichtian Hell Creek Formation of Montana, United States. It contains a single species, Acheroraptor temertyorum. A. temertyorum is one of the two geologically youngest known species of dromaeosaurids, the other being Dakotaraptor, which is also known from Hell Creek.Achillobator
Achillobator ( ə-KIL-ə-BAY-tor) is a dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived roughly 93 to 80 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous in what is now Mongolia, in Asia. It was among the largest dromaeosaurs; the holotype and only known individual of Achillobator is estimated at 5 to 6 m (16.4 to 19.7 ft) long. Achillobator was a moderately-built, ground-dwelling, bipedal carnivore. It would have been an active predator, hunting with the enlarged, sickle-shaped claw on the second toe.Adasaurus
Adasaurus ( AH-də-SAWR-əs; "Ada's lizard") is a dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period of Central Asia. It was a small bipedal carnivore with a sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each hind foot, and was perhaps 1.8 m (5.9 ft) long. The genus name Adasaurus is taken from Ada, an evil spirit in the mythology of Mongolia, and the Greek word sauros meaning 'lizard'. The species name, for the single species, (A. mongoliensis), refers to the country of origin. Adasaurus was named and described in 1983 by Mongolian paleontologist Rinchen Barsbold.
Adasaurus is a member of Dromaeosauridae, a group that is closely related to living birds. Other dromaeosaurids include Deinonychus, Velociraptor, Microraptor, and Buitreraptor. The relationships of Adasaurus are poorly understood. Traditionally, Adasaurus is assigned to the Dromaeosaurinae, which includes heavily built animals such as Dromaeosaurus and Utahraptor but several recent studies have suggested that it may be a member of the Velociraptorinae instead.Two specimens of Adasaurus have been found, both from the Nemegt Formation in the Gobi Desert of southern Mongolia. The holotype, IGM 100/20, is an incomplete skeleton with partial skull, including the vertebral column except the back of the tail, all three bones of the pelvis, the shoulder girdle and the hindlimbs. The second specimen, the paratype IGM 100/51 also described in the original paper, consists of the back end of another skeleton, including the hindlimbs. Both specimens are currently in the collection of the Mongolian Geological Institute in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The age of the Nemegt is not known for certain, but it is commonly thought to belong to the Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period., and Adasaurus would therefore have lived between 72 and 66 million years ago. Other dinosaurs found in this formation include the tyrannosaur Tarbosaurus, the ornithomimid Anserimimus, the troodontid Zanabazar, and the hadrosaur Saurolophus.Atrociraptor
Atrociraptor (meaning "savage robber") is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian stage) of Alberta, Canada.
The type (and only) specimen of Atrociraptor, holotype RTMP 95.166.1, was discovered by Wayne Marshall in 1995, in layers of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation also containing an Albertosaurus bonebed, near Drumheller. This bonebed is located at the top of Unit 4 of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, which dates to about 68.5 million years ago. The only known specimen consists of parts of the upper and lower jaws—both premaxillae, a right maxilla, both dentaries—teeth and numerous small fragments. The skull appears to have been unusually short and tall. The teeth are relatively straight, but they emerge from the tooth sockets at an angle to the jaw line, resulting in a strongly raked row of teeth. A number of isolated teeth (previously referred to Saurornitholestes) have also been recovered from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation; they can be recognized by their unusually large serrations.
In 2004 Philip J. Currie and David Varricchio named and described the type species of Atrociraptor: Atrociraptor marshalli. The generic name is derived from the Latin atrox, "savage", and raptor, "seizer". The specific name honours Marshall.In 2010 Gregory S. Paul estimated its length at two metres, its weight at fifteen kilogrammes. Atrociraptor differs from Bambiraptor and other velociraptorines in its more isodont dentition—the teeth have different sizes but the same form—and short deep snout. A skull opening, the maxillary fenestra, is relatively large and positioned right above another opening, the promaxillary fenestra, a condition not known from other species.
Atrociraptor was by its describers assigned to the Velociraptorinae within a larger Dromaeosauridae. However, in 2009 Currie published a cladistic analysis showing Atrociraptor to be a member of the Saurornitholestinae.Boreonykus
Boreonykus is an extinct genus of dromaeosaurid dinosaur, that lived during the Late Cretaceous in the area of present Canada.Fragmentary dromaeosaurid remains were discovered in the eighties at the Pipestone Creek site in central Alberta during excavations of a bonebed containing at least twenty-seven individuals of the ceratopsid Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai. They were initially partly referred to a Saurornitholestes sp.The type species Boreonykus certekorum was named and described by Phil Bell and Philip John Currie in 2015. The genus name is a variation of "Boreonychus", "northern claw". The specific name certekorum honors the Certek Heating Solutions company, that works in the oil industry, and provided financial support for the excavations.The holotype specimen of Boreonykus, TMP 1989.055.0047, was found in a layer of the Wapiti Formation in central Alberta, which dates from the late Campanian, 73.27 ± 0.25 million years ago. It consists of a right frontal bone. Fourteen loose teeth have been referred to the species, as well as several postcranial bones, perhaps of the same individual: the specimen TMP 1988.055.0129, a rear caudal vertebra; UALVP 53597, a claw of the second finger, and the specimen TMP 1986.055.0184.1, a sicle claw of the foot.A single autapomorphy, unique derived trait, was indicated: the ridges bordering the fronts of the depressions around the supratemporal fenestrae form an acute angle of 55° together, pointing to the rear.Boreonykus was, within the Dromaeosauridae, placed in the Velociraptorinae. It was seen as both an indication of faunal provincialism and a quick species turn-over rate.Dromaeosaurinae
Dromaeosaurinae is a subfamily of Dromaeosauridae. Most dromaeosaurines lived in what is now the United States and Canada, as well as Mongolia, and possibly Denmark as well. Isolated teeth that may belong to African dromaeosaurines have also been discovered in Ethiopia. These teeth date to the Tithonian stage, of the Late Jurassic Period.All North American and Asian dromaeosaurine dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous were generally small, no more than 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) long, in Dromaeosaurus and Adasaurus. However, among the dromaeosaurines were the largest dromaeosaurs ever; Dakotaraptor was ~5.5 metres (18 ft) long, Achillobator 6 metres (20 ft), and Utahraptor up to ~7 metres (23 ft).Eudromaeosauria
Eudromaeosauria ("true dromaeosaurs") is a subgroup of terrestrial dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaurs. They were relatively large-bodied, feathered hypercarnivores (with diets consisting almost entirely of other terrestrial vertebrates) that flourished in the Cretaceous Period.
Eudromaeosaur fossils are known almost exclusively from the northern hemisphere. They first appeared in the early Cretaceous Period (early Aptian stage, about 124 million years ago) and survived until the end of the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian stage, 66 Ma). The earliest known definitive eudromaeosaur is the dromaeosaurine Utahraptor ostrommaysorum, from the Cedar Mountain Formation, dated to 124 million years ago. However, the earlier (143-million-year-old) fossils such as those of Nuthetes destructor and several indeterminate teeth dating to the Kimmeridgian stage may represent eudromaeosaurs.Halszkaraptorinae
Halszkaraptorinae is a basal ("primitive") subfamily of Dromaeosauridae that includes the enigmatic genera Halszkaraptor, Mahakala, and Hulsanpes. A comparison of the fossils of Halszkaraptor with the bones of extant crocodilians and aquatic birds revealed evidence of a semiaquatic lifestyle. The group is named after Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmólska.Hulsanpes
Hulsanpes is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from Mongolia that lived during the Late Cretaceous.Itemirus
Itemirus is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Turonian age of the Late Cretaceous period of Uzbekistan.Luanchuanraptor
Luanchuanraptor (meaning "Luanchuan thief") is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of China. It is based on a partial skeleton from the Qiupa Formation in Luanchuan, Henan. A medium-sized dromaeosaurid, it is the first Asian dromaeosaurid described from outside the Gobi Desert or northeastern China. The fossil material is cataloged as 4HIII-0100 in the Henan Geological Museum and includes four teeth, one frontal, a neck vertebra, one or two back vertebrae, seventeen tail vertebrae, ribs, chevrons, a humerus (upper arm bone), claw and finger bones, partial shoulder and pelvic girdles, and other fragmentary bones from a moderately sized dromaeosaurid. The type species is L. henanensis, described by Lü et al. in 2007.Mahakala omnogovae
Mahakala (from Sanskrit, named for Mahakala, one of eight protector deities (dharmapalas) in Tibetan Buddhism) is a genus of basal dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the Campanian-age (about 80 million years ago) Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation of Ömnögovi, Mongolia. It is based on a partial skeleton found in the Gobi Desert. Mahakala was a small dromaeosaurid (approximately 70 centimeters long (28 in)), and its skeleton shows features that are also found in early troodontids and avialans. Despite its late appearance, it is among the most basal dromaeosaurids. Its small size, and the small size of other basal deinonychosaurians, suggests that small size appeared before flight capability in birds.Microraptoria
Microraptoria (Greek, μίκρος, mīkros: "small"; Latin, raptor: "one who seizes") is a clade of basal dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaurs. The first microraptorians appeared 125 million years ago in China. Many are known for long feathers on their legs and may have been semi-arboreal powered fliers, some of which even capable of launching from the ground. Most microraptorians were relatively small; adult specimens of Microraptor range between 77–90 centimetres long (2.53–2.95 ft) and weigh up to 1 kilogram (2.2 lb), making them some of the smallest known dinosaurs.Saurornitholestinae
Saurornitholestinae is a subfamily of dromaeosaurid dinosaurs. The saurornitholestines currently include three monotypic genera: Atrociraptor marshalli, Bambiraptor feinbergorum, and Saurornitholestes langstoni. All are medium-sized dromaeosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of western North America. The group was originally recognized by Longrich and Currie as the sister taxon to a clade formed by the Dromaeosaurinae and Velociraptorinae. However, not all phylogenetic analyses recover this group.Tsaagan
Tsaagan (meaning "white") is a genus of carnivorous dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Djadokhta Formation of the late Cretaceous of Mongolia.
The fossil of Tsagaan was discovered in 1996 and first identified as a specimen of Velociraptor. After a CAT-scan in May 1998 it was concluded that it represented a new genus. In December 2006 its type species was named and described by Mark Norell, James Clark, Alan Turner, Peter Makovicky, Rinchen Barsbold and Timothy Rowe. The species name, Tsaagan mangas, should be read as a whole with the generic name qualifying the specific epithet, and is derived from the Mongolian words for "white monster" (цагаан мангас), although with an accidental misspelling of the word Tsagaan.
The holotype specimen, IGM 100/1015, was found near Xanadu in Ömnögovi Province in layers of the Djadokhta Formation dating to the Campanian, about 75 million years ago. It consists of a well-preserved skull and series of ten neck vertebrae as well as a damaged left shoulder girdle. It is the only specimen found of Tsaagan and belonged to an adult individual.Tsaagan was a medium-sized dromaeosaurid. In 2010 Gregory S. Paul estimated its length at 2 metres (6.6 ft), its weight at 15 kilograms (33 lb). The skull in general appearance resembles that of Velociraptor but differs from it in many details. It is more robust and smooth on top; unique derived traits, autapomorphies, include long paroccipital processes and basipterygoids at the back of the skull and a jugal touching the squamosal.Unenlagiinae
Unenlagiinae is a subfamily of dromaeosaurid theropods. Unenlagiines are known from South America and Antarctica.Unquillosaurus
Unquillosaurus (meaning "Unquillo river lizard") is a genus of maniraptoran dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period, discovered in Argentina. Known only from a single fossilized pubis (a pelvic bone), its total body length may have reached 2 to 3 metres (6.6 to 9.8 ft).Velociraptor
Velociraptor (; meaning "swift seizer" in Latin) is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the latter part of the Cretaceous Period. Two species are currently recognized, although others have been assigned in the past. The type species is V. mongoliensis; fossils of this species have been discovered in Mongolia. A second species, V. osmolskae, was named in 2008 for skull material from Inner Mongolia, China.
Smaller than other dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and Achillobator, Velociraptor nevertheless shared many of the same anatomical features. It was a bipedal, feathered carnivore with a long tail and an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot, which is thought to have been used to tackle and disembowel prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout.
Velociraptor (commonly shortened to "raptor") is one of the dinosaur genera most familiar to the general public due to its prominent role in the Jurassic Park motion picture series. In real life, however, Velociraptor was roughly the size of a turkey, considerably smaller than the approximately 2 m (7 ft) tall and 80 kg (180 lb) reptiles seen in the films (which were based on members of the related genus Deinonychus). Today, Velociraptor is well known to paleontologists, with over a dozen described fossil skeletons, the most of any dromaeosaurid. One particularly famous specimen preserves a Velociraptor locked in combat with a Protoceratops.Yurgovuchia
Yurgovuchia is an extinct genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur known from the Early Cretaceous (probably Barremian stage) of Utah. It contains a single species, Yurgovuchia doellingi. According to a phylogenetic analysis performed by its describers, it represents an advanced dromaeosaurine, closely related to Achillobator, Dromaeosaurus and Utahraptor.