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Deinonychosauria facts for kids

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Temporal range: JurassicCretaceous
Deinonychus (large) and Buitreraptor (small), Field Museum of Natural History
Scientific classification

Colbert & Russell, 1969

The Deinonychosauria ("fearsome claw lizards") is a clade of bird-like theropods in the Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous. The largest known of these was Utahraptor, and Anchiornis was the smallest. The group includes two rather different families. Each of these is described more fully on its own page.

The Dromaeosauridae includes some of the most fearsome killers of the Cretaceous period: Deinonychus, Velociraptor, and Utahraptor. These are the raptors of the film Jurassic Park.

Troodontids date from the Upper Cretaceous and were lighter and slimmer than the dromaeosaurids. Troodon and Saurornithoides are two examples. As a group, they are closely related to birds. Troodontids had unusually large brains, comparable to living flightless birds. Their eyes were also large, and pointed forward, so they had good binocular vision. A few troodont fossils, including specimens of Mei and Sinornithoides, show that these animals roosted like birds, with their heads tucked under their forelimbs. They were fully feathered.


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