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Temporal range: Upper Triassic – Upper Cretaceous (non-avian)
| T. rex foot |
Picture taken at Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Theropods first appear in the earliest part of the Upper Triassic about 230 million years ago. They were the sole large terrestrial carnivores from the Lower Jurassic until the close of the Cretaceous, about 65 million years ago.
The earliest and most primitive of the theropod dinosaurs were
- the carnivorous Eodromaeus
- the herrerasaurids of Argentina. They had a mosaic of primitive and advanced features.
- the omnivorous Eoraptor
- Zanno L.E; Gillette D.D; Albright L.B. and Titus A.L. 2009. A new North American therizinosaurid and the role of herbivory in 'predatory' dinosaur evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Published online before print July 15, 2009, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1029.