The name of the Therizinosaurus comes from Latin and means lizard with sickle or scythe, this dinosaur is known only one species, it is believed to have lived at the end of the Cretaceous, to be exact in the Mastrichtian, this happened 70 million years ago in what is now Asia. This dinosaur is the most representative of the Therizinosauria. Not many remains of this dinosaur have been found, all of which have been found have been incomplete, so their anatomy and behavior is not completely known, although as with other dinosaurs can be inferred many things compared to others in the family to which it belongs and with the few bones that are held.
It is thought that he had a small skull and that he had a long neck. It is important to mention that he walked on two legs even though he was very heavy and his body was bulky, this is believed to be due to the shape of his pelvis, i.e. his hip bone, which indicates that he had this capacity. Its name was given because on an expedition to Mongolia they found very long claws. The claws along with some arm bones make the experts think that his arms could reach a height of 2 meters. He had very firm legs with four fingers that balanced him very well. It is also worth mentioning that it is one of the few herbivorous bipeds that are known, that is to say that it is one of the few dinosaurs that walked on two legs and ate plants.
The first Therizionosaurus was discovered in Mongolia, at first experts thought the remains belonged to a turtle. This confusion is mainly due to the fact that very few bones were discovered and the claws of his hands were not yet studied in depth. These first remains were found around 1940 in what is known as the Nemegt Formation. The most outstanding thing was that they found a big claw, at first they thought it was another type of bone and not a claw.
In 1954 Evgeny Maleev thought that the claw was a rib, this mistake was corrected in 1950 when more bones were found both in Mongolia and in the northern part of China, this time some teeth were found, a leg with its characteristic four fingers and especially a leg and part of the arms, which allowed to prove that it was actually a dinosaur and that the bone was not a rib but a claw. With this knowledge, its genus (Therizinosaurus) was classified and named in 1954.
One of the biggest challenges that paleontologists have faced is classifying the Therizinosaurus as a group of dinosaurs. It has been a great debate that is still open today even though it was classified as a theropod in 1990, however being so particular and not sharing characteristics with other dinosaurs was classified as a separate group.
There are still many doubts about the behavior of the Therizinosaurus, one of these big doubts is what it ate. The main theory is that he ate plants, that is to say that he was a herbivore and that his large claws were used to bring branches closer to his mouth and cut the leaves he needed. There are some other experts who believe that with their claws and by walking on two legs they may have hunted small lizards and mammals. What makes the theory that he ate plants more doubtful is precisely the fact that he walked on two legs that would make him a big predator, yet he was not as big as other dinosaurs that lived in his day so it is believed that he did not eat meat and that his claws did not have a primarily predatory function.
Definitely what makes the Therizinosaurus special is that it has the largest claws on record, even compared to current animals. It was usual for Theropods to have claws, however the claws of the Therizinosaurus were really big. His claws were a little more than a quarter of his arm. From his bones we know that his arms were very powerful, first to support the weight of his claws and second to be able to use them effectively, it is believed that his muscles were very powerful and could have a lot of strength, so it is believed that he could have used his claw as a defense.
Its claw measured approximately 70 centimeters and formed a kind of curve, more or less like those of a sickle and hence its name. Together with his claw his arms could measure up to two and a half meters, they were also very heavy. Its claw is also important because it was one of the first remains found and this helped to identify it as a totally different dinosaur.
The use that the Therizionosaurus gave to its claw still causes many debates, although it is known that they did not use it for hunting, precisely because of its size it was so old that it was impractical to fight. Most paleontologists believe that the Therizinosaurus were totally vegetarian and used their claws to collect leaves and especially fruit. We can say that he was similar in his behavior to a lazy man of our time. It is also possible that the males had longer claws than the females and that differentiated them.
Where else can you find him?
It’s a relatively new dinosaur that hasn’t had the chance to have many appearances, but perhaps where you can see more of it is in Dino Rey.