Imagine a cross between a sloth and a Muppet and you might have a Therizinosaurus. Fragments of fossils from this dinosaur were found in Mongolia in the 1950s, but we’ve never found a complete skeleton. Scientists still have a lot to learn about this interesting dinosaur.
- Therizinosaurus lived 70 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous.
- It likely had feathers, based on a fossil of a close relative. It was much too heavy to fly, so the feathers were probably to help keep it warm or to attract a mate.
- Therizinosaurus was 30 feet long from its beak to its tail. Because it was a plant eater, it had a large gut for digesting food. It had a wide body and a low center of gravity. It probably waddled a bit as it walked and moved slowly.
- This dinosaur, like most theropods, had three claws on each arm. The claws were huge—and shaped like giant scythes. They might have been used as weapons, but they also probably helped the animal bend tree branches to reach leaves.
- Therizinosaurus had a long neck and a small head. It had wide feet with four toes on each one.
- The species name, cheloniformes, means “turtle form.” Scientists originally thought this dinosaur was an ancient turtle.
Questions and Answers
Question: Did these dinosaurs live in herds?
Answer: Scientists aren’t sure, although a group of 17 clutches of Therizinosaurus eggs were discovered in 2013, which implies that they did at least raise babies together.
Read more about this unusual dinosaur.