Walking With Wikis

       Therizinosaurus, also commonly dubbed The Giant Claw due to its scythe-like claws, was a species of herbivorous theropod dinosaur. Therizinosaurus was one of the last and largest representatives of its unique group, the Therizinosauria.


Over 12 meters long and 7 meters high, and weighing up to 9 tons, Therizinosaurus lived in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, Asia. The claws that Therizinosaurus possessed could be as long as 70 cm-1.5 m. long and were the biggest known claws of any animal after the less-known Deinocheirus. In fact, when they were first discovered, they were thought to be ribs of a giant tortoise, and were recognized as claws only later.

Therizinosaurus fighting Tarbosaurus. (The Giant Claw)

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. Measuring 3 m. (10 feet) long, they were considered 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 creature "Therizinosaurus" or "The Scythe Reptile".

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 great claws at the front, had been a plant-eater rather than a predator, and used their huge claws to drag leaves towards their mouths. 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; and four-toed feet (instead of the traditional three toes on other dinosaurs) to prevent the animal from sinking into any soft sand. 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.

Therizinosaurus used its long neck to reach higher branches in trees, where it would nibble leaves with its small, beak-like mouth. Also, it could probably hook branches down with its great claws, or use them to strip bark off the tree trunks.

Therizinosaurus. (The Giant Claw)

Despite it being a member of the theropod clan that consisted mainly of carnivorous dinosaurs, Therizinosaurus and its kind are the only members to be strictly herbivores. Despite its looks, Therizinosaurus may have also traveled in whole herds. When mating or trying to defend its self, Therizinosaurus may have stood with its arms outstretched, like a swan flapping its wings, so that it could display the size of its claws. If this failed, it may have been able to take gentle swipes at any aggressors, although the weight of the claws would have limited their use as an effective weapon.

When walking, Therizinosaurus probably folded its arms against its body, a bit like a bird, to stop the weight of the claws from unbalancing it. With its giant claws, long neck, bulbous body and small head, Therizinosaurus was one of the strangest-looking of all the dinosaurs.

In Walking With... series

Chased by Dinosaurs

The Giant Claw

Therizinosaurus was the focus of this episode. Initially described as a carnivore, it was slowly depicted as a plant-eater instead (though a theropod dinosaur all the same), that lived in family groups, fed on leaves, and was armed with huge arms and claws that could fight off even a Tarbosaurus.

Walking with Dinosaurs: Inside Their World

Therizinosaurus is one of the viewable dinosaurs in the app.



  • Therizinosaurus would've had a mostly scaly covering, but at least a few fur-like "protofeathers".
  • The skull shape for the WWD: ITW is heavily inaccurate, with a "crest" on the snout.
  • No theropod, even Therizinosaurus, had pronated hands in reality, unlike in the series.
  • Like all the dinosaurs in the series, it is heavily shrink-wrapped. In reality, it would be a bit fatter, without the outlines of the bones showing.

Nigel looking to a Therizinosaurus fighting a Tarbosaurus