Theropoda


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Related to Theropoda: Stegosauria, Ceratosauria, Tetanurae

Theropoda

[thi′räp·əd·ə]
(paleontology)
A suborder of carnivorous bipedal saurischian reptiles which first appeared in the Upper Triassic and culminated in the uppermost Cretaceous.

Theropoda

 

a suborder of saurischian dinosaurs. The suborder embraced more than ten families, which were united in two superfamilies (or infraorders): Coelurosauria and Carnosauria. Coelurosaurs, relatively small in size, had developed anterior extremities and a rather small skull; late forms lacked teeth. Carnosaurs, giant predators with reduced anterior extremities, had a huge skull and powerful teeth.

Theropods were the principal group of terrestrial predatory vertebrates of the Mesozoic (Middle Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous). Some may have fed on social insects, such as termites and ants, or even on the fruits of trees. They walked on two legs. Remains of theropods are known from Mesozoic deposits of all continents; in the USSR, remains have been found in Kazakhstan, Middle Asia, and Transbaikalia.

REFERENCE

Osnovy paleontologii: Zemnovodnye, presmykaiushchiesia i ptitsy. Moscow, 1964.