KidZone Animals: Dinosaurs
Carnivorous Dinosaurs (Therapoda)
Therapods are a group of dinosaurs that is made up of carnivorous dinosaurs. There are a lot of really famous dinosaurs in this category, like tyrannosaurus rex, albertasaurus, and velociraptor.
Within the therapoda group there are many sub-groups of carnivorous dinosaurs. For example, the tyrannosaurus and albertasaurus belong to the group tyrannosauridae. It is important to remember that not all types of therapoda lived at the same times. Some therapod dinosaurs lived at the end of the triassic and some only lived in the cretaceous period.
Regardless of when they lived and which specific sub-group they belonged to, all therapoda have a number of traits in common:
- Serrated Teeth: Large teeth that resemble knives because of the especially sharp edges. They make it easier for the carnivorous dinosaurs to rip up meat to eat.
- Large Hands: Even though they often had short arms, therapoda had large hands that could grasp.
- Extra Holes in the Skull: If you feel the sides of your head beside you eyes you will feel your temples. Humans and all mammals have this pair of openings in the skull. Reptiles, birds, and dinosaurs also have temples like ours but they also have an extra pair of wholes on top of their skull. Therapoda have even more holes in front of their eyes and along their jaws.
- Hollow Bones: These bones are located in the limbs and vertabrae and they are filled with air sacs. The scientific word for these is pneumatic bones.
Some people think that all therapoda are also gigantic. While that is true for some of them, carnivorous dinosaurs comes in all sorts of sizes. Competing for the largest carnivore in the Earth's history is the gigantosaurus at 13 meters long. The tyrannosaurus rex is also super large, at about 10 meters (around the length of a semi-truck). Carnivorous dinosaurs can also be the size of a small bird.