Fun Variraptor Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Nov 29, 2022 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Oct 12, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Interesting Variraptor facts include that they are the first raptor to be found in Europe.

The Variraptor is believed to be related to a dinosaur from North America as it is very similar to the Deinonychus. According to geographical history, North America and Europe were connected until 10 million years ago.

This is why scientists expected to find similar dinosaurs or ones from the raptor family in Europe. Variraptor hence is the first proof that the dinosaurs from the raptor family lived in Europe.

The discovery of Variraptor and Pyroraptor, which is another European Dromaeosauridae, proved the theory that some scientists believed that the raptor family originated in North America and later spread to Asia and Europe.

The dinosaur was first discovered in 1992 by the Méchin couple and was named in 1998 by Jean Le Loeuff and Eric Buffetaut. This dinosaur's name means 'Var thief' or 'Var raider' referring to the river Var in southern France.

For more relatable content, check out these Ostafrikasaurus facts and Atrociraptor facts for kids.

Variraptor Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Variraptor'?

This dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur, Variraptor, is pronounced 'Varr-i-rap-tor' and was named by Jean Le Loeuff and Eric Buffetaut in 1998.

What type of dinosaur was a Variraptor?

According to the classification of the fossil remains of V. mechinorum, genus Variraptor, it is a genus of a coelurosaurian dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur, a dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period that used to live in France. This raptor is considered to be very similar to the North American dinosaur Deinonychus.

In which geological period did the Variraptor roam the Earth?

The fossil remains collected of the raptor family of these Late Cretaceous of southern France are estimated to be living in the world during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 83.5 million years ago.

When did Variraptor become extinct?

According to the fossil discovery history for V. mechinorum, it has been approximated that these dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of southern France were last recorded around 66 million years ago during the Maastrichtian stage.

Where did Variraptor live?

According to the discovery of the Variraptor mechinorum (genus Variraptor) fossils, it has been concluded that the species must have lived in what would be present-day France, Europe, which is the Grès à Reptiles Formation. The fossils have been found in places such as Barcelona (Spain) and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (France).

What was the Variraptor habitat?

The Variraptor mechinorum are believed to live in a terrestrial habitat in the woodlands of central Asia. According to many studies done on dinosaur species, it has been found that most dinosaurs preferred living along the ancient rivers and streams.

They would roam in densely vegetated swamps and lakes and forested floodplains.

On the other hand, the Cretaceous period is known for a relatively warm climate that resulted in high eustatic sea levels, creating numerous shallow inland seas. These water bodies were populated with marine reptiles, ammonites, and rudists, which are all extinct now.

Who did a Variraptor live with?

This dromaeosaurid theropod from the Upper Cretaceous was one of the land animals, dominant from the 'duck-billed' dinosaurs group like Hadrosaurs, Shantungosaurus, and Triceratops. At the same time, giant marine reptiles like Ichthyosaurs, Mosasaurs, and Plesiosaurs also existed in the seas. And flying reptiles such as Pterosaurs were dominant in the sky.

How long did a Variraptor live?

This new dromaeosaurid lived through the Late Cretaceous period with other dinosaur species from 83.5-66 million years ago, mainly from the Campanian to Maastrichtian stage.

How did they reproduce?

Like all other dinosaurs, the reproduction of this dinosaur of France, from the Late Cretaceous period, is believed to be oviparous. This means that they are believed to reproduce by laying eggs.

Variraptor Fun Facts

What did Variraptor look like?

Because of the incomplete fossil remains of this dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous period, it is difficult to reconstruct the dinosaur from the available fossils. However, their fossils are very superficially similar to the Deinonychus, but Variraptor is believed to be smaller in size than the Deinonychus.

Variraptor is believed to have had a smaller build, and according to some paleontologists, it must have been no more than 9.8 ft (3 m) long. The smaller measurements for the size of this dinosaur are more commonly found.

Varirptor is also considered a nomen dubium by many because of the lack of identification of its features through the existing remains. Some also believe Variraptor to have a synonym with Pyroraptor.

Variraptor has an incomplete fossil representation since enough fossils for the dinosaur aren't available.

How many bones did a Variraptor have?

The fossil representation for this new dromaeosaurid is considered to be incomplete. The incomplete remains include vertebrae, sacrum, ilium, humerus, and other bones, including the femur, which is still doubtful about their validity of inclusion.

How did they communicate?

It is unknown how exactly this Saurischia Theropoda from the Upper Cretaceous communicated with each other or the dinosaurs of different species.

But in the review of pre-historic animal sounds, Philip J. Senter, an American paleontologist and a professor of Zoology at Fayetteville State University, very popularly known for his researches focusing on dinosaur paleobiology, believed that the dinosaurs used to communicate by hissing, clapping their jaws together, grinding mandibles against upper jaws, rubbing scales together and by the use of environmental materials like splashing against water.

It is also believed that the dinosaurs communicated vocally and visually. These two modes of communication would have been most used during courtship behavior, territory fights, defensive posturing, etc.

According to the same assumption, it is believed that the head crests of some species like Corythosaurus and Parasaurolophus were used to amplify grunts or bellow.

How big was a Variraptor?

The exact measurements regarding this vertebrate Saurischia Theropoda height are known to be around 3.3 ft (1 m) and the Variraptor size is estimated to be about 6.6-9.8 ft (2-3 m) long. This raptor is similar to the Deinonychus of North America but has a smaller build and is not that long compared to the latter dinosaur.

How fast could a Variraptor move?

This Theropoda is considered to be an actively mobile dinosaur that had a bipedal movement.

How much did a Variraptor weigh?

The Variraptor's weight based on the classification of the specimen collected is estimated to be weighed around 99.2-110.2 lb (45-50 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The female and male Variraptor dinosaurs are not given any different names.

What would you call a baby Variraptor?

Since the Variraptor reproduces by laying eggs and the new ones are born when the eggs hatch, the baby Variraptor can be called hatchling or nestling. This generalized term can be used for all the dinosaurs since they were all hatched from eggs.

In the case of theropods (including this one), dinosaurs that resemble birds, a baby theropod can also be referred to as a chick.

What did they eat?

Variraptor is known to be a carnivore that fed on other dinosaurs smaller in size or living creatures that lived in the same habitat as them during the Cretaceous period.

How aggressive were they?

Considering that these dinosaurs were carnivorous in nature, it would be safe to say that they must have been aggressive in nature to some extent. This aggression would have helped them to survive and feed in the wild among other more giant predators.

Did you know...

This Dromaeosauridae has also appeared on the website, Jurassic Park: Institue on Dinopedia. The Jurassic Park Institue was an expansive Jurassic Park-based website that can be browsed on Dinopedia.

The Jurassic Park Institue was launched by Universal Studios and was opened on 12 June 2001, and was closed down in 2006. The website was known for its database on dinosaurs and games and activities around them.

Why are they called Variraptor?

The name Variraptor means Var thief or Var raider. Their generic name Variraptor is derived from the Latin word Varus which refers to the Var river in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence region of southern France.

The specific name, Variraptor mechinorum is assigned in honor of the Méchin couple who first discovered the species. The name was assigned in 1998 by Jean Le Loeuff and Eric Buffetaut.

When were they discovered?

This species from the Maastrichtian stage was first found in 1992 by two amateur paleontologists Patrick Méchin and Annie Méchin-Salessy in the Grès à Reptiles Formation (Campanian-Maastrichtian) at La Bastide Neuve, near Fox-Amphoux. They assigned their finds to the dubious theropod genus Elopteryx.

Later in 1997, a second article was published that concluded that the species was, in fact, a new species and didn't belong to the earlier assigned genus. In 1998, the species were given a name honoring the first founders by Jean Le Loeuff and Eric Buffetaut.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Condorraptor interesting facts and Epanterias surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Variraptor coloring pages.


Main image by Tylwyth Eldar.

Second image by Abujoy.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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