Small predatory dinosaurs.
The oldest carnivorous dinosaurs
were comparatively small and frail, with long hind limbs, grasping front limbs and sharp teeth in their mouth. Among these
we find Compsognathus, one of the smallest dinosaurs known. It belonged to the group Coelurosauridae, which was the
origin of all later carnivorous dinosaurs (theropods) and birds.
The running dinosaurs - Ornithomimosauria
- have been given their name because they look like modern running birds. Gallimimus was a running dinosaur living
in Central Asia towards the end of the Cretaceous. Gallimimus was up to 5 metres long and had a lightly built skeleton.
The front and hind limbs were slim, it had a long flexible neck and a small head with toothless jaws surrounded by a horny
beak. The ornithomimosaurs probably ate anything, including fruit, leaves and different small animals.
The first (oldest)
carnivorous dinosaurs emerged towards the end of the Triassic about 220 million years ago. For 145 million years they were
a very important part of the Earth´s dinosaur fauna, but they were never as common as the herbivorous dinosaurs. They became
extinct at the end of the Cretaceous about 65 million years ago. The predatory dinosaurs varied a lot in size. They all walked
on their hind legs and are therefore called bipedal dinosaurs. The foot ended in three toes with sharp claws. In their jaws
they had a varied number of strong, sharp teeth.
Large carnivorous dinosaurs.
The large carnivorous dinosaurs
are the largest terrestrial carnivorous vertebrate animals ever. Tyrannosaurus was 14 metres long, while the Mongolian
Tarbosaurus was 13 metres long. Both had very large, massive skulls and large, dagger-like teeth in their jaws. The
front legs were small, short and had only two toes, whereas the hind legs were very strong, long, and ended in three toes
with large claws. The long tail served, among other purposes, as a counterweight to the carnivorous dinosaur´s heavy front
body and head. The carnivorous dinosaurs were effective hunters, but most species probably also ate carcasses.
near Tsgan Khushu in the Gobi desert, a Polish-Mongolian palaeontological expedition found an almost complete skeleton of
a young Tarbosaurus.
List of contents in the dinosaurs: meat eaters
© shauna judith irani. dino/school.