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Bipedal Dinosaurs: Types & Examples

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  • 0:02 Bipedal Defined
  • 1:45 Theropods
  • 2:42 Ornithopods
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Bipedal dinosaurs include some of the scariest dinosaurs that ever roamed the earth. This lesson will define the word bipedal, and then will highlight some truly amazing bipedal dinosaurs.

Bipedal Defined

Let me introduce you to a few groups of dinosaurs, perhaps right out of your nightmares:

One of the species of Carcharodontosaurus dinosaurs
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  • Carcharodontosaurus was a genus of dinosaur that contained fierce predators, some of which had 8-inch, serrated teeth. It's no wonder they got the nickname 'shark tooth lizard.' What's scarier than a dinosaur with 8-inch serrated teeth? A 15 metric ton dinosaur with 8-inch serrated teeth. Yep, these guys were huge!
  • Not to be outdone, members of the genus Giganotosaurus were also pretty terrifying. Like their name implies, these carnivores were giant and may have been some of the largest land predators to have ever roamed the earth, and as if one of these giants isn't scary enough, some scientists believe they may have hunted in packs.
  • Troodon is a genus containing dinosaurs that are quite a bit smaller than our first two groups, but what they lacked for in size, they made up for in speed and smarts. They also had larger eyes than most dinosaurs… to better to see you with.

You're probably happy this trio of killers is extinct. Other than being meat-eating predators, what else do they have in common? Well, these three dinosaur groups were all bipedal, which means to walk on two legs - just like you. The word 'bipedal' technically translates into 'double foot', and it's believed that all dinosaurs originated from a bipedal ancestor. Of course, some dinosaurs ended up walking on four legs.

Ok, now that you've had a taste of some bipedal dinosaurs, you're probably craving some more. Let's go over a couple of groups: theropods and ornithopods.

Theropods

The word theropod translates to 'beast foot', and most of these dinosaurs were carnivores. In fact, when you think of scary dinosaurs like those mentioned earlier, chances are you're thinking of a theropod. This group was bipedal and had powerful hind legs and short arms. Let's check out some fun theropod facts:

  • Birds are considered to be descendants of the theropods. The genus Velociraptor is actually more closely related to modern birds than to most dinosaurs.
  • Theropods include some of the scariest and largest land carnivorous, like Giganotosaurus, who weighed about the same as two elephants.

Giganotosaurus was a bipedal carnivore that was about 40 feet long
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