Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 


These were small to gigantic predatory and herbivorous theropods, most of which were predators, that had 3 toes. They arose in the Late Triassic and survived until the close of the Cretaceous. They were present on all continents.

Anatomical characteristics

Their anatomical characteristics were highly variable. The size and shape of the head was variable with large, bladed teeth to no teeth. Their necks were from fairly long to short. The short trunk was stiff. The tail varied from very long to short. A fused furcula was often present, the arms were very long to very reduced, the fingers varied from 4 to 1, though it was usually 3 and the fingers were from long and slender to short, with claws large to reduced. The pelvis was large and the legs were usually long and usually had 3 toes, the inner toe being a short hallux, though there were sometimes 4 load-bearing toes or sometimes 2. Their skeletons were pneumatic and bird-like and they had a respiratory system that was ventilated by air sacs. The size and form of their brains varied from similar to reptiles to similar to birds.


Though some specialised groups were full herbivores most were classic hunters.


It has been suggested that their energy levels and food consumption were probably similar to those of ratites except as noted.

All were distinctly bird-like.


Primitive avepod theropods. Predators that ranged from small to gigantic from the Late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous.

Anatomical characteristics

They were variable. The size and shape of the head was variable with bladed teeth, their necks were long to fairly short, the tail was long to very short. Their arms were from moderately long to severely reduced, their hands had 4 fingers. The pelvis was moderately large to very large. Their brains were reptilian. The bird-like respiratory system was developing as the pneumaticity of the bones was partially developed.


They were pursuit and ambush predators.


Sources & Further reading

  1. Paul, Gregory S., 2010, The Princeton Field guide to Dinosaurs, Princeton University Press.



Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 05/02/2012 





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