Theropoda (//; from Ancient Greek θηρίον (thēríon) 'wild beast', and πούς, ποδός (poús, podós) 'foot'), whose members are known as theropods, is a dinosaur clade that is characterized by hollow bones and three-toes and claws on each limb. Theropods are generally classed as a group of saurischian dinosaurs. They were ancestrally carnivorous, although a number of theropod groups evolved to become herbivores, omnivores, piscivores, and insectivores. Theropods first appeared during the Carnian age of the late Triassic period 231.4 million years ago (Ma) and included all the large terrestrial carnivores from the Early Jurassic until at least the close of the Cretaceous, about 66 Ma. In the Jurassic, birds evolved from small specialized coelurosaurian theropods, and are today represented by about 10,500 living species.
|Montage of six theropod species.|
First row: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, and Saltriovenator zanellai. Second row: Alaskan saurornitholestine, and Serikornis sungei. Third row: Allosaurus sp., Ceratosaurus sp., and Dromaius novaehollandiae.