Two fighting carnivorous theropods from the Cretaceous Era

Theropod dinosaurs

Theropod dinosaurs were the top predators in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. For over 100 million years theropods were the only large carnivores on land and included all the infamous carnivorous dinosaurs - Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor and Spinosaurus. However, not all theropods were predators. Some evolved away from their carnivorous origins to consume an omnivorous or herbivorous diet. Birds are the only living descendants of the theropods.

Scientific name: Theropoda

Rank: Suborder

Common names:


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Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Egg layer Egg layer
Oviparous animals lay eggs, inside which the young then develop before hatching occurs. Birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and even some mammals (the monotremes) all lay eggs but they're of very different size and construction.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

What killed them

Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction
The Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction - also known as the K/T extinction - is famed for the death of the dinosaurs. However, many other organisms perished at the end of the Cretaceous including the ammonites, many flowering plants and the last of the pterosaurs.

Fossil types

Learn more about the other animals and plants that also form these fossils.

Trace fossils Trace fossils
It's not only the actual bodily remains of dead animals and plants that can become fossils. Things created or left behind by animals can also fossilise, such as their footprints, burrows and dung.

BBC News about Theropod dinosaurs