What is a theropod? 22
How did hunters kill their prey? 24
Was T. rex a scavenger? 26
Did carnivores eat only meat? 28
What is a theropod?
Put simply, a theropod was a flesh-eating dinosaur. This lizard-hipped group of dinosaurs included some of the largest carnivores ever to roam the Earth. Although theropods often had wimpy arms, they did have strong muscles to power their rear legs. They also had large teeth and strong jaws. Most, such as Carnotaurus, had three-toed feet ending in claws. Not all theropods were huge—some were as small as chickens and survived by snapping up lizards and maybe insects.
What does bipedal mean? __
| A A bipedal animal is one that walks on two legs. All the meat-eating dinosaurs were bipedal, although there were some plant-eaters that also walked on two legs. Bipedal dinosaurs were faster and mostly more intelligent than their four-legged cousins. The first dinosaurs, such as Eoraptor, were bipedal, as were some of the later ones, such as T. rex.
How big were a killer's teeth?
| A Carnivore fossils generally show curved, daggerlike teeth that would have sliced prey to shreds. The size of the tooth was generally a guide to the size of the animal and could be up to 8 in (20 cm) long. This tooth, which is 4 in (9 cm) long, comes from the mouth of Megalosaurus—a large theropod from the Jurassic Period.
How did a theropod run?
A dinosaur's fossilized bones and joints provide clues about how the animal moved. For example, paleontologists can figure out how far the limbs could reach. Large thigh bones indicate strong, muscular thighs, and long shin and foot bones suggest that the dinosaur was a fast runner.
2 Three waking toes spread on the ground for stability as the second leg is lifted.
3 When off the ground, the toes bunched together to minimize air resistance and increase speed.
with a horizontal back, head held high, and its body balanced by its stiff tail.
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