Eating meat the theropod way

When dinosaurs got around to carnivory, they did it the theropod way: with steak-knife teeth, sinewy haunches, and grasping hands and feet tipped with scimitar claws (Figure 9.1 see p. 185). The combination was at once formidable and successful, and produced a rainbow palette of different types, among them coelophysoids, neoceratosaurs, carnosaurs, therizinosauroids, orni-thomimosaurs, oviraptorosaurs, troodontids, dromaeosaurids, tyrannosauroids . . . and birds.

Grouped together as Theropoda (thero - wild beast; pod - foot), these dinosaurs have had a long evolutionary history extending back from the Late Triassic right up until the end, 65.5 Ma. Past that "end," really, since birds are still very much with us. But in this chapter, we'll concentrate on non-avian (that is, non-bird) theropods, holding off on the avian side of the story until Chapter 10. Non-avian theropods (for simplicity, "theropods") have been found on every continent including Antarctica (Figures 9.2 and 9.3).

Figure 9.2. Global distribution of non-coelurosaurian Theropoda.

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