Deinonychus was a light, fast-moving dinosaur. It was bipedal, which means that it walked on two legs. It was one of the most dangerous predators of its time. Deinonychus was about ten feet long, about the size of a car. It was five feet tall and weighed about 175 pounds. It lived about 100 million years ago. This dinosaur was built to hunt. It had a long, narrow snout packed with sharp, curved teeth. The teeth were serrated like a saw. It jaws were very strong. Deinonychus could probably bite through solid bone! Each of its three fingers had a large, sharp, curved claw. Deinonychus used its three-fingered hand to grab its prey.
It had four toes on its feet. The second toe had a long 5-inch claw. When it ran, it kept its huge foot-claw out of the way and ran on its other toes. This way the claw would always stay sharp. When it was ready to attack, it would leap at its prey with all four legs. Its long claw would snap forward like a cat’s claw. This is how it got its name: Deinonychus means “terrible claw”. Deinonychus had a curved, flexible neck and a big head. Its eyes were large, which means that it might have hunted at night. The eyes faced forward, which allowed it to see how far away an object was. Deinonychus had a stiff tail, which it held straight out behind it. This was very useful for balance. Deinonychus could change direction in mid-air by whipping its tail around.
Deinonychus ate just about anything it could hunt down. Their bones were often found together with many others of its kind, which mean that it probably hunted in large groups. When it was hunting in packs, it might have been able to kill any creature it wanted: even the huge dinosaurs, like the sauropods or the armored ankylosaurs. Deinonychus was a very intelligent dinosaur. It had a large space in its skull for a brain, which is how paleontologists guess how intelligent a dinosaur is. This made it a very deadly predator. Deinonychus fossils have been found in Montana, Utah and Wyoming in North America.