Deinonychus Facts: Extinct Animals of the World

Deinonychus is an extinct dinosaur that belonged to the genus Carnivorousdromaeosaurid coelurosaur dinosaurs. They lived during the early Cretaceous period which was approximately 115-108 million years ago. Paleontologists have discovered the fossil remains of the species Deinonychus antirrhopus in the United States of Utah, Oklahoma, Montana and Wyoming. The word Deinonychus has a Greek background that suggests the words “terrible” and “claws”. Their claws were large and formed a scythe on the back second toes. The name of the species, antirrhopus, simply means “counter-balance”, thus suggesting the long tail of the Deinonychus which had rigid tendons and bones that supported and balanced the entire body.

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In 1969, Ostrom published the name Deinonychus antirrhopus and later a detailed monograph. In his descriptions, the Deinonychus grew to a length of about 11.2 feet, 16.1 inches of which was for the skull and 2.9 feet for the height of the hip. Estimates show the total weight between 161 pounds and 220 pounds. Inside the broad triangular skull, the jaws had nearly seventy curved teeth that looked like a blade. The snout was narrow and the jugal bones wider which gave the Deinonychus a good stereoscopic view. Both the skull and the lower jaw had large openings between the eyes and the nostril that made the skull lighter. The two manu had three claws each with the longest half while the hind limbs had sickle-shaped claws on the central digit suggesting an adaptation to predation. The researchers suggested that Deinonychus had feathers similar to those found on the limbs and tails of modern birds.


The Deinonychus were carnivorous and hunted in tactical groups. This hypothesis was based on the fact that the preys of Deinonychus, the tenontosaurs, were much larger and heavier. However, this theory has addressed credibility issues from various sources that base their arguments on the fact that modern archovagus such as crocodiles are solitary hunters since these modern species have their internal conflicts, mainly because the larger members try to dominate. The strength of the Deinonychus bite was between 4,100 and 8,200 newtons and could bite through a bone. Several sources believe that Deinonychus members performed various functions such as football and climbing, while their claws could have been used to cut and gut prey and to defend themselves.

The Deinonychus in popular culture

Since the early 1990s, there has been an increased reference to dinosaurs, including Deinonychus, in books and movies. In the novels Jurassic Park and The Lost World, as well as in the films Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, the Deinonychus is used but with other names including the Velociraptor due to what the writers of the series called “a more dramatic name”. However, most of the Jurassic World films use the name Deinonychus and, coincidentally, the production ended in the period when John Ostrom, an expert in the Deinonychus studio, was also publishing more articles on the same.

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