The theropods were a diverse group of dinosaurs. They walked on two legs, were mostly meat-eaters, and all had three-toed limbs.


Theropods all had hollow bones, something they have in common with their descendants, modern birds.

They include the iconic T. rex, as well as Velociraptor, Spinosaurus and Compsognathus, of Jurassic Park fame.

Top 5 heaviest theropod dinosaurs

Biggest theropods © Daniel Bright
© Daniel Bright

5. Mapusaurus roseae


4. Tyrannotitan chubutensis


3. Giganotosaurus carolinii


2. Tyrannosaurus rex


1. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus

(8 tonnes)

Top 5 lightest theropod dinosaurs

Smallest theropods © Daniel Bright
© Daniel Bright

5. Microraptor zhaoianus


4. Epidexipteryx hui


3. Ligabueino andesi


2. Ceratonykus oculatus


1. Parvicursor remotus

(140 grams)

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Steve is a professor and palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh and the author of the book The Rise And Reign Of The Mammals (£20, Picador), a 325-million-year odyssey of mammalian evolution and the people who study mammal fossils.