There's Claws - Therizinosaurus, the Scythe Reptile. It's the oddest of dinosaurs.
— Allen Johnson, about Therizinosaurus
in The Giant Claw

Therizinosaurus ("Scythe Reptile"), also commonly dubbed The Giant Claw due to its large scythe-like claws, was a species of herbivorous theropod dinosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous Period 80-65 million years ago. Therizinosaurus was the last and arguably the largest representatives of its unique group, the Therizinosauria.



Therizinosaurus lived in prehistoric Mongolia during the Late Cretaceous period 80-65 million years ago. It shared the environment with dinosaurs like Saurolophus, Protoceratops, Mononykus, Velociraptor, and its natural enemy Tarbosaurus. And with them, it died out when all the dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous.


180px-Therizinosaurus roars on beach, The Giant Claw

Therizinosaurus measured 12-13 meters long, stood 5-7 meters tall and weighed up to between 4-8 tons. Known by its scientific name as the "Scythe Reptile", these dinosaurs were known for having the longest and largest claws of any animal ever discovered, 28–inch long claws. Hence, how they got their nickname, "The Giant Claw".

Therizinosaurus skeleton arm, The Giant Claw

Skeleton arm of a Therizinosaurus

When a single claw of a Therizinosaurus was first discovered sometime in the 1950's by paleontologists, the claw itself was so extraordinary that the paleontologists originally believed it to have been a single rib bone that belonged to a giant turtle, possibly Archelon. But sometime later, it was discovered that the claws were actually attached to a dinosaurs's arms, 3 m. (10 ft) long, the longest arms of any dinosaur and any creature ever found. And because of their scythe-like appearance, paleontologists had then decided to name the dinosaur "Therizinosaurus" or "The Scythe Reptile".


Therizinosaurus vs tarbosaurus

Therizinosaurus vs. Tarbosaurus

At first, scientist thought its claws belonged to a meat-eating dinosaur, but it turns out Therizinosaurus, having a long neck, small head, and those magnificent claws on their hands, had actually been a plant-eater instead of a predator, and even used their huge claws to drag leaves towards their mouths.

Interestingly, these dinosaurs also lived in herds. They were the oddest of dinosaurs: great long necks for reaching up for vegetation; pot bellies – great fermentation chambers for the tons of vegetation they had to eat. Their huge claws weren't for killing, although they could discourage even a huge Tarbosaurus. As scary as they may have looked, Therizinosaurs were gentle creatures.