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Any animal that feeds on other animals through hunting their prey, or that has a diet consisting of meat, is classified as carnivorous. In this module, we are going to focus on meat-eating dinosaurs. A wide array of carnivorous dinosaurs, consisting of several subgroups, belong to the suborder Theropoda. Popular theropods include the Tyrannosaurus rex, Albertosaurus, and Velociraptor.
See the fact file below for more information on the meat-eating dinosaurs or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Meat-Eating Dinosaurs worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The name Theropoda was coined by the American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1881.
- The term Theropoda means “beast feet”.
- Carnivorous dinosaurs make up 35% of all dinosaurs to have existed.
- There were also herbivorous and omnivorous theropods. However, they were primarily carnivores.
- We are now totally safe from dinosaurs that might eat us, as they are now extinct.
- In fact, they existed approximately 230 million years ago.
PHYSIOLOGY AND DIET
- In order to hunt for their prey, meat-eating dinosaurs had long and strong legs.
- Carnivorous dinosaurs had serrated teeth (sharp teeth that resembled a knife) in order to proficiently hunt and eat their prey.
- Their sharp teeth could cut to the meat of their prey.
- They also had strong jaws to be able to bite with such force.
- Carnivorous dinosaurs also had developed sharp claws.
- Carnivorous dinosaurs often behaved sneakily. They had a strong sense of sight and smell to effectively hunt for their next meal.
- Carnivorous dinosaurs developed predatory behavior, as shown in an example of a Compsognathus fossil that has a lizard in its stomach.
- Deinonychus, Coelophysis, and Velociraptors are examples of carnivorous dinosaurs that hunted in groups or packs.
- The velociraptor belonged to the Dromaeosauridae family of dinosaurs, considered a genius type of carnivorous dinosaur.
- The velociraptor was bipedal, or with two feet.
- It was a carnivore with feathers.
- Velociraptors roamed the earth during the latter part of the Cretaceous Period, approximately 75 to 71 million years ago.
- Peter Kaisen recovered the first Velociraptor fossil on August 11, 1923, during an American Museum of Natural History expedition to the Outer Mongolian Gobi Desert.
- Henry Fairfield Osborn gave the name Velociraptor to the fossil in 1924.
- The name Velociraptor was derived from the latin words “velox” meaning swift, and “raptor” meaning robber or plunderer.
- Deinonychus was a theropod that also belonged to the dromaeosaurus family.
- The genus Deinonychus had only one described species, the Deinonychus antirrhopus.
- The Deinonychus could grow up to 3.4 meters or 11 feet long.
- The Deinonychus lived during the early Cretaceous Period, from approximately 115-108 million years ago.
- Fossils of the Deinonychus have been retrieved from Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Oklahoma, United States.
- The Deinonychus had a powerful jaw, with 70 sharp teeth.
- Evidence suggests that the Deinonychus, like other dinosaurs belonging to the family Dromaeosauridae, have feathers.
- The remains of the Deinonychus were initially found by Barnum Brown in Montana in 1931.
- It was initially and informally called “Daptosairus agilis”.
- It was John Ostrom who named it Deinonychus antirrhopus in 1969.
- The dinosaur’s name is derived from the Greek words “kompsos” meaning elegant, and “gnathos” meaning jaw.
- Compsognathus was a bipeda, carnivorous theropod dinosaur. It belonged to the Compsognathidae family.
- The genus Compsognathus had one species called Compsognathus longipes.
- It was a small carnivorous dinosaur, and could only grow to the size of a turkey.
- Two well-preserved, almost complete skeletons of Compsognathus longipes were discovered in Europe: one in Germany in 1850, and another in France in 1971.
- For decades, it was the smallest known dinosaur, until the Caenagthasia, Microraptor, and Parvicursor were discovered, dinosaurs that were even smaller compared to the Compsognathus.
- A tyrannosaurus was a genus of a dinosaur belonging to the coelurosaurian family.
- The most popular species of Tyrannosaurus was the Tyrannosaurus rex, with “rex” meaning “king” in Latin.
- The Tyrannosaurus Rex was considered as the king of dinosaurs because of its size.
- Tyrannosaurus lived on an island continent known as Laramidia, which is now known as western North America.
- It lived during the upper Cretaceous period, approximately 68 to 66 million years ago.
- The most complete specimen of the Tyrannosaurus Rex measures up to 12.3 meters or 40 feet long, and 3.66 meters or 12 feet tall at the hips.
- The estimated weight of the Tyrannosaurus rex was from 8.4 metric tons to 14 metric tons.
- Barnum Brown found the first partial skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus rex in eastern Wyoming, 1900, and another partial skeleton in Montana, 1902, that totalled to 34 fossilized bones.
- Henry Osborn, president of the American Museum of Natural History, named it Tyrannosaurus rex in 1905.
- The name Tyrannosaurus Rex was derived from the greek word “tyrannos” which means tyrant, “sauros” meaning lizard, and “rex” meaning king.
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the meat-eating dinosaurs across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Meat-Eating Dinosaurs worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the any animal that feeds on other animals through hunting their prey, or that has a diet consisting of meat, is classified as carnivorous. In this module, we are going to focus on meat-eating dinosaurs. A wide array of carnivorous dinosaurs, consisting of several subgroups, belong to the suborder Theropoda. Popular theropods include the Tyrannosaurus rex, Albertosaurus, and Velociraptor.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Facts
- Show and Tell
- Carnivore or Herbivore?
- Carnivore Diet
- Fact or False?
- Predatory Behavior
- Name the Dinosaur
- Dinosaur Word Hunt
- Animal Kingdom
- Comparing Dinosaurs
- Watch and Learn
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Use With Any Curriculum
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