Dinosaurs: Deinonychus


Deinonychus (Terrible Claw)

Deinonychus was a small meat-eating dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period. It was a swift, two-legged dinosaur that had three-fingered clawed hands and four-toed clawed feet. Deinonychus grew to about 10 feet in length (3 m), and 5 feet tall (1.5 m) and weighed about 175 pounds (80 kg). It had a stiff tail that helped balance the predator and allow it to make quick turns.

Deinonychus was a member of a group of small, intelligent hunting dinosaurs called Dromaeosaurids. Other members of this group included Utahraptor, Microraptor and the infamous Velociraptor.

Like other Dromaeosaurids this meat-eater was armed with fearsome rows of sharp teeth, however its main weapon was a long (5 inch) sickle-like retractable claw on the second toe of each foot controlled by a strong tendon. This claw would have been raised whilst on the move. However, when this fearsome predator was ready to attack its prey, the strong tendon would snap tight and the claw would snap down with great power and force, slicing deeply into the victim.

Deinonychus probably hunted in packs, allowing it to attack prey much larger than itself such as defenceless Hadrosaurs. It also had a very large brain in comparison to its small body size suggesting that these predators were very smart.




Pronounced: DIE-no-NIKE-us

Name Means: "Terrible Claw"
Length: 10 feet (3 m)
Height: 4 feet (1.2 m)
Weight: 110 pounds (50 kg)
Diet: Carnivore (Meat)
Time: Early to Mid Cretaceous - 120 million years ago
Habitat: Open Woodland
Fossils Found: Western North America



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