Deinonychus Dinosaurs

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Deinonychus meaning 'terrible claw' was a 7-10 foot long, carnivorous dromaeosaurid dinosaur species from the Early Cretaceous Period. Its name refers to the unusually large, sickle-shaped talon (on the second toe of each hind foot), which was probably held retracted while the dinosaur walked on the third and fourth toes. It was commonly thought that Deinonychus would kick with the sickle claw to slash at its prey but recent tests on reconstructions of similar Velociraptor talons suggest that the claw was used to stab, not slash. As in other dromaeosaurids, the tail was stiffened by a series of ossified tendons. This might have given Deinonychus greater balance and turning ability, and lends it its specific name, D. antirrhopus, which means 'counterbalancing'.

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