Fun Facts about Therizinosaurus

Therizinosaurus belonged to the therizinosaurs named after it, and its distinguishing characteristic was three long claws on each front leg. Therizinosaurus’ body was unusually shaped, with a long neck and a short tail. Therizinosaurus, like the other members of this group, was a bipedal herbivore.

In the late Cretaceous epoch, Therizinosaurus existed in what is now Mongolia. Therizinosaurus is thought to have lived in the same environment as modern gorillas or prehistoric ground sloths. Therizinosaurus’ long arms and keen claws were probably used to rip bark and vegetation from trees. Therizinosaurus had the largest claws of any animal that ever lived. It was 70 cm long on a 2.50 m long arm. Furthermore, the remarkable range of mobility of the forelimbs allowed these creatures to access food that other theropods were unable to reach.

Therizinosaurus. (photo source: wikipedia)

Taxonomically, thericinosaurs are difficult to define, although many traits of their forelimbs, skull, and pelvis clearly place them among theropods and maniraptors, close relatives of birds. They also had four toes on their feet.

After the discovery of Alxasaurus in the mid-1990s, it was widely believed that thericinosaurs possessed typical theropod functions and were thought to be herbivorous ancestors of carnivorous theropods. Because only a few bones have been discovered, the exact appearance of the Therizinosaurus is unknown for the time being.

1: Therizinosaurus quick facts:

Name: Therizinosaurus (Greek for “Scythe Lizard”); pronounced Ther-ih-zine-oh-sore-us
When it lived: Late Cretaceous, 70 million years ago
Type of dinosaur: Large Theropod
Location: Mongolia
Habitat: Forest.
Length/Weight: 10 meters/5000kg
Diet: Herbivorous
Distinguishing Characteristics: Long claws and a big body.
Named by: Maleev (1915)

2: How do you pronounce ‘Therizinosaurus’?

The name Therizinosaurus  should be pronounced “Ther-ih-zine-oh-sore-us.”

3: What does the name Therizinosaurus mean?

This dinosaur’s generic name, Therizinosaurus, is derived from the Greek word therizo, which means to slash, scythe, or harvest. The Greek word’sauros’ translates to ‘lizard’. This moniker is given in reference to the dinosaur’s enormous claws.

The specific name cheloniformis is derived from the Greek word chelóni, which means “turtle,” and the Latin word formis. The palaeontologist had previously assumed that the Therizinosaurus fossil belonged to a turtle-like reptile, hence this name was assigned.

4: What Did Therizinosaurus Look Like?

According to presumed reconstructions, the Therizinosaurus skull was proportionally tiny to its body. This enormous skull requires a long neck, a horny beak (rhamphotheca), and a broad torso to process food more efficiently. This herbivore had advanced forelimbs with three fingers each digit. These digits were equipped with unguals (sharp claws) that were elongated, rigid, and curved at the tips.

Therizinosaurus dinosaurs. (photo source: Raul Lunia)

This dinosaur genus possesses the longest manual unguals of all land animals, measuring up to more than 50 centimetres in length. There were four weight-bearing toes on the hind legs. These toes differ from those of other known Theropod dinosaurs, with the first toe becoming a dewclaw. This mimics the toe morphology of Sauropodomorphs, as opposed to their Theropod ancestors. These animals’ legs were powerful and sturdy, allowing them to maintain their balance and move efficiently.


Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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