Theropods ('beast foot') are a group of bipedal saurischian dinosaurs.
|Mounted skeleton of Coelophysis bauri, Cleveland Museum of Natural History|
Although they were primarily carnivorous, a number of theropod groups evolved herbivory, omnivory and insectivory.
Today, they are represented by 10,000 living species of birds, which evolved in the Upper Jurassic from small feathered coelurosaurian theropods.
Among the features linking theropods to birds are bipedalism, the three-toed foot, a furcula (wishbone), air-filled bones, feathers and brooding of the eggs.
Theropods first appear in the earliest part of the Upper Triassic about 230 million years ago. They were the sole large terrestrial carnivores from the Lower Jurassic until the close of the Cretaceous, about 66 million years ago.
Some of the earliest and most primitive of the theropod dinosaurs were:
- coelophysids, a family including Coelophysis
- ↑ Holtz, Thomas R., Jr. (2012). Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, Winter 2011 Appendix.
- ↑ Zanno L.E; Gillette D.D; Albright L.B. and Titus A.L. 2009. A new North American therizinosaurid and the role of herbivory in 'predatory' dinosaur evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Published online before print July 15, 2009, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1029.