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Scientific Classification

Superfamily Coelophysoidea

Superfamily Ceratosauria

Superfamily Spinosauroidea

Superfamily Carnosauria

Superfamily Tyrannosauroidea

Superfamily Deinonychosauria

Theropods were a groups of terrifying carnivorous dinosaurs that belong to the taxonomic suborder Theropoda. Within this groups is the largest predator ever to roam the Earth (Spinosaurus), as well as the chicken-sized Compsognathus. Their name Theropod means “beast-footed” and they belong to a larger group known as the lizard-hipped dinosaurs (Saurischians).

Theropods were bipedal; that is, they walked on two legs with their bodies held close to horizontal and their tails outstretched for balance. They could move rapidly, and had grasping hands and clawed digits. They were also equipped with strong jaws and sharp, serrated teeth. For these reasons, they were highly successful predators. Some species hunted in packs, because most of their natural prey were fleet of foot.

The members of Ornithomimidae closely resembled modern ostriches and emus. Such ornithomimids as Dromiceiomimus are thought to be among the most intelligent of the dinosaurs, at least as intelligent as the modern birds they resemble.

Theropod fossils have been found world-wide. Conventional interpretations of geologic ages states that they existed from the mid-Triassic Period through the Cretaceous Period, for 160 million years. It is thought that Theropods perished with the rest of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, although their descendants are still among us.

Creation scientists typically interpret the Earth's geology as the result of the Biblical flood of Noah. The Theropods, like all dinosaurs, are believed to have perished during this catastrophe, but were reintroduced following the flood and became extinct subsequently.

Size comparison of the largest theropods with humans (Spinosaur, Giganotosaur, Carcharodontosaur, Tyrannosaur, Mapusaur).

Examples from this group of dinosaurs include:

Bird evolution

Recent evidence may be dispelling this belief that birds evolved from dinosaurs:

"Researchers at Oregon State University contend they have made a fundamental new discovery about how birds breathe and have a lung capacity that allows for flight – and the finding means it's unlikely that birds descended from any known theropod dinosaurs... 'For one thing, birds are found earlier in the fossil record than the dinosaurs they are supposed to have descended from,' Ruben said. 'That's a pretty serious problem, and there are other inconsistencies with the bird-from-dinosaur theories. But one of the primary reasons many scientists kept pointing to birds as having descended from dinosaurs was similarities in their lungs,' Ruben said. 'However, theropod dinosaurs had a moving femur and therefore could not have had a lung that worked like that in birds. Their abdominal air sac, if they had one, would have collapsed. That undercuts a critical piece of supporting evidence for the dinosaur-bird link'... 'Frankly, there's a lot of museum politics involved in this, a lot of careers committed to a particular point of view even if new scientific evidence raises questions,' Ruben said. In some museum displays, he said, the birds-descended-from-dinosaurs evolutionary theory has been portrayed as a largely accepted fact, with an asterisk pointing out in small type that 'some scientists disagree.'"[1]
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  1. Science 2.0 (2009, June 9). "Theropod Dinosaurs Evolved Into Birds? Not Likely, Says Study."
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