Therizinosaurus

Therizinosaurus cheloniformis

  • Pronounced:  Ther-ih-Zin-o-Sore-us

  • Diet:  Carnivore or omnivorous

  • Name Means:  "Scythe Lizard"

  • Length:  26 feet (8 m)

  • Height:  13 feet (4 m)

  • Weight:  1,000 pounds (450 kilos)

  • Time:  Late Cretaceous - 77 MYA

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in Asia

This strange looking dinosaur had claws that were 3 feet (1 m) long! It is also the longest of its family, the therizinosaurs, yet discovered. It is now thought that it may have had feathers, as others in its family have been found to show the remains of protofeathers in their fossils.

Known from only partial remains, the claws and huge arms of this dinosaur are astounding. Therizinosaurus has been an intriguing puzzle for scientists ever since several huge claws were first discovered in 1948. In the late 1950s, a number of different bones were found, including a tooth, another large claw and parts of the front and rear limbs that also included a four-toed foot. These bones were so bizarre that paleontologists didn't know what to make of them except to classify them together because of the strange claws.

A series of finds in Mongolia in the late 1980?s showed that huge arms that had been previously attributed to Deinocheirus  actually belonged to the same group as the huge claws and strange bones attributed to Therizinosaurus. Parts of the pelvis and other bones were also found, which gave paleontologists a better look at what was shaping up to be the strangest dinosaur ever to walk the earth.

While the claws were very long, they were not sharply curved. In cross section, they were quite thin. Some scientists think they were used to tear open termite mounds. Therizinosaurs had a fairly long neck, small head, and teeth that could have been used to eat plants. The family previously known as segnosaurs is now named after this peculiar dinosaur.



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