theropod


theropod
/thear"euh pod'/, n.
any member of the suborder Theropoda, comprising carnivorous dinosaurs that had short forelimbs and walked or ran on their hind legs. Also called bird-footed dinosaur.
[ < NL Theropoda (1881) suborder name; see -THERE, -O-, -PODA]

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Any species of bipedal, carnivorous saurischian in the suborder Theropoda.

The chicken-sized Compsognathus,the smallest known adult dinosaur, probably weighed 2–4 lb (1–2 kg); the tyrannosaurs weighed tons. The theropods also included Allosaurus, Deinonychus, Megalosaurus, Oviraptor, and Velociraptor. Theropod remains recovered have been from the Late Triassic through the Late Cretaceous Epoch (227–65 million years ago) from all continents except Antarctica. Their well-developed hind legs provided support and locomotion; their short forelimbs had mobile hands, probably for grasping and tearing prey. Despite the group's name, which means "beast (i.e., mammal) foot," theropod feet usually resembled those of birds. It is widely believed that all modern birds are descended from one line of small theropods.

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▪ dinosaur suborder
 any member of the dinosaur subgroup, Theropoda, that includes all the flesh-eating dinosaurs. Theropods were the most diverse group of saurischian (“lizard-hipped”) dinosaurs, ranging from the crow-sized Microraptor to the huge Tyrannosaurus rex (tyrannosaur), which weighed six tons or more.

      Unlike the sauropod saurischians, all the theropods were obligate bipeds; that is, their hind legs provided support and locomotion while the short forelimbs and mobile hands were probably adapted for grasping and tearing prey. Despite the group's name, which means “beast (i.e., mammal) foot,” theropod feet usually resembled those of birds. Birds are descended from one lineage of small theropods and therefore are members of Theropoda.

 Three major theropod groups are generally recognized. Ceratosaurs (dinosaur) were the first and ranged in size from the small Coelophysis to Ceratosaurus, which approached Allosaurus in size. Succeeding the early ceratosaurs were the tetanurans, comprising the carnosaurs (carnosaur) (including Allosaurus) and the coelurosaurs (a larger group that includes Tyrannosaurus (tyrannosaur), dromaeosaurs (dromaeosaur), and Ornithomimus, among others). Coelurosaurs and carnosaurs both had many hollow bones and sharp, recurved teeth along the entire length of their jaws.

 Theropod remains have been recovered from all continents except Antarctica and from the Late Triassic (Triassic Period) through the Late Cretaceous periods (Cretaceous Period) (from 227 million to 65 million years ago).
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • theropod — [thir′ə päd΄] n. [< ModL Theropoda < Gr thēr, a wild beast (see FIERCE) + PODA] any of a suborder (Theropoda) of flesh eating saurischian dinosaurs that walked mainly on the hind legs …   English World dictionary

  • theropod — noun any of numerous carnivorous dinosaurs of the Triassic to Cretaceous with short forelimbs that walked or ran on strong hind legs • Syn: ↑theropod dinosaur, ↑bird footed dinosaur • Hypernyms: ↑saurischian, ↑saurischian dinosaur • Hyponyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • theropod — noun Etymology: New Latin Theropoda, from Greek thēr wild animal + pod , pous foot more at fierce, foot Date: circa 1891 any of a suborder (Theropoda) of carnivorous bipedal saurischian dinosaurs (as a tyrannosaur or velociraptor) usually having… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • theropod — noun Any large, bipedal dinosaur, of the suborder Theropoda, from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods …   Wiktionary

  • theropod — [ θɪərə(ʊ)pɒd] noun a dinosaur of a group including bipedal carnivores such as the carnosaurs and dromaeosaurs. Origin 1930s: from mod. L. Theropoda (plural), from Gk thēr beast + pous, pod foot …   English new terms dictionary

  • theropod — the·ro·pod …   English syllables

  • theropod — the•ro•pod [[t]ˈθɪər əˌpɒd[/t]] n. pal any saurischian dinosaur of the suborder Theropoda, comprising carnivorous dinosaurs that had short forelimbs and moved on powerful hind legs • Etymology: < NL Theropoda (1881) …   From formal English to slang

  • theropod — /ˈθɛrəpɒd/ (say theruhpod) noun one of a family of carnivorous dinosaurs, characterised by their ability to stand on two legs, as the tyrannosaurus and the velociraptor …   Australian English dictionary

  • theropod dinosaur — noun any of numerous carnivorous dinosaurs of the Triassic to Cretaceous with short forelimbs that walked or ran on strong hind legs • Syn: ↑theropod, ↑bird footed dinosaur • Hypernyms: ↑saurischian, ↑saurischian dinosaur • Hyponyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Joan Wiffen's Theropod — New Zealand Theropod Temporal range: Late Cretaceous Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class …   Wikipedia


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