Velociraptor (‘swift thief’) is a genus of small dromaeosaurid dinosaur that lived in Asia during the Late Cretaceous epoch, about 75 million to 71 million years ago. Smaller than other dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and Achillobator, Velociraptor was about 1.5–2.07 m (4.9–6.8 ft) long with a body mass around 14.1–19.7 kg (31–43 lb). It 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 restrain prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout.
Prominent quill knobs—attachment site of “wing” feathers and direct indicator of a feather covering—have been reported from the ulna of a single Velociraptor specimen (IGM 100/981), the spacing of 6 preserved knobs suggests that 8 additional knobs may have been present, giving a total of 14 quill knobs that developed large secondaries (“wing” feathers stemming from the forearm.)
When first described in 1924, Velociraptor was placed in the family Megalosauridae, as was the case with most carnivorous dinosaurs at the time. As dinosaur discoveries multiplied, Velociraptor was later recognized as a dromaeosaurid. All dromaeosaurids have also been referred to the family Archaeopterygidae, which makes the Velociraptor a flightless bird.