DEINOCHEIRUS (DINE-oh-KEE-rus)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Saurischia, Theropoda, Ornithomimidae

Location: Asia (Mongolia)

Length: Unknown

Deinocheirus ("horrible hand") is a fascinating animal. Its front arms and three-fingered hands are nearly eight feet long. Unfortunately only the shoulder blades, arm bones, hands, and a few pieces of ribs and vertebrae of this animal have been found. These were collected in the Late Cretaceous Nemegt Basin of Mongolia by paleontologists from Poland and Mongolia in 1965. No other fossils have been found.

The size of this specimen is its most amazing feature. The upper arm bone (humerus) is over three feet long. The fingers were not equal in length and each ended in a large claw. The fingers could not move as much as in most other theropods.

Originally Deinocheirus was placed in its own family, the Deinocheiridae. But because its arms and hands are similar to the members of Ornithomimidae, Deinocheirus is now placed in this family. At least one theropod, Therezinosaurus, had even larger hands and claws; its claws were about three times larger than those of Deinocheirus.