Dinosaur Hall - Theropods
Theropod dinosaurs were meat-eaters (except for a very few that returned
to eating plants) who walked on their two hind legs. Theropods ranged in
size from relatively small, such as the Coelurosaur seen here, to the great
Tyrannosaurs. Many theropods had feathers, and birds are their descendants.
T. bataar was a ferocious meat-eating dinosaur that
lived during the Cretaceous Period, 80 million years ago. This fossil cast
is of a juvenile individual, which at maturity might have attained a length
of 45 feet. Although this specimen roamed Mongolia, it is a close relative
of the Tyrannosaurus rex that inhabited the Southwestern United
The “Tyrant Lizard King” is arguably the most famous
dinosaur and among the largest meat-eating dinosaurs. Although well known
and widespread, it is comparatively rare. T. rex fossils are known from
Texas to Montana.
The name Coelurosaur refers to the large group of
carnivorous (meat-eating) dinosaurs that includes Allosaurus,
Tryannosaurus and Velociraptor. The most advanced members of this group
are related to birds and may have had feathers. This dinosaur is a new
species not yet named. Its nickname is “Little Tooth.” The “raptors,” small
bipedal meat-eaters with a “killer claw,” may have been the wolves of the
Cretaceous, hunting big game in packs. This small dinosaur was more like a
coyote, a fast moving predator hunting small prey.
These remains were found by expeditions sponsored by the Arizona Museum
of Natural History, now the Arizona Museum of Natural History, in deposits
near the Arizona-New Mexico border dating to 90 million years ago. The same
rocks contain fossils of the horned dinosaur Zuniceratops, the
bizarre looking therizinosaur dinosaur Nothronychus and fossil
turtles, fish, crocodiles and lizards.