National Velociraptor Awareness Day
annually on April 18th
Today is dedicated to the Velociraptor, a small, fast, bird-like dinosaur. There were two species of the dinosaur, the second of which wasn't identified until 2008. Their name comes from the Latin words "velox," meaning swift, and "raptor," meaning robber or plunderer. They were named by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1924, who was president of the American Museum of Natural History. Fossils of the dinosaur were first found the year prior, in the Outer Mongolian Gobi Desert. More fossils have since been found in the Gobi desert in Mongolia and northern China.
Velociraptors were about the size of a small turkey and could weigh up to 33 pounds. They had three claws on each hand and could fold their arms against their body like birds. They had a sickle-shaped claw on a toe on each of their feet that helped them catch their prey, which was usually small animals, reptiles, and amphibians. In 2007, quill knobs were discovered, indicating they had had feathers. However, these feathers did not give them the ability to fly or guide.
How to Observe
One of the best ways to celebrate the day is to watch one of the Jurassic Park films. Some liberty was taken in the design of the Velociraptors in the film, and in reality, they looked a bit different than how they were depicted. You could also enjoy some pictures of Velociraptors, so you are aware of what they look like, just in case one comes running down your street.