Curator and dino-expert Geoff Tresise has taken a breather to tell us about Velociraptor, one of the stars of the exhibition...
Steven Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park' brought dinosaurs back to life with impressive realism. It was also the film that made Velociraptor a star! Tyrannosaurus was shown dismembering a goat and chasing after a jeep. However, it was the much smaller raptors which unexpectedly proved to be the more dangerous. These raptors were shown as intelligent and inventive, very blood-thirsty and given to hunting in groups.
Raptors had large brains, suggesting that they were indeed unusually intelligent for dinosaurs. They had numerous sharp teeth but their main weapons were sickle-shaped claws on each hind-foot with which they could slash and disembowel their prey. Hunting in packs they could attack and kill much larger dinosaurs but it is likely that they also took food whenever and wherever they found it.
Velociraptor (a name meaning 'speedy thief) stood about a metre tall and was one of the largest of the raptor group. In the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition there is a solitary Velociraptor attempting to raid a nest of eggs guarded by the horned dinosaur Protoceratops. Look out for it on your way around the exhibition!