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Temporal range:
Early JurassicPresent, 201–0 Ma
Sinosaurus triassicus skull.JPG
Skull of Sinosaurus triassicus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Clade: Averostra
Clade: Tetanurae
Gauthier, 1986

Avipoda Novas, 1992

Tetanurae, or "stiff tails", is a clade that includes most theropod dinosaurs, including birds. Tetanurans (or tetanurines) first appear during the early or middle Jurassic Period.


Illustration of Monolophosaurus jiangi

Tetanurae meaning "stiff tails", was named by Jacques Gauthier in 1986 for a large group of theropod dinosaurs.[5] Gauthier's paper was the first serious application of the science of cladistics to vertebrate paleontology.

Tetanurae is defined as all theropods more closely related to modern birds than to Ceratosaurus.[6] Gauthier originally classified two main groups within the larger group Tetanurae: Carnosauria and Coelurosauria. However, many of what he considered carnosaurs have been since been re-classified as coelurosaurs or primitive tetanurans by later research.[7]


It is not entirely clear where the origins of Tetanurae are. Cryolophosaurus has been claimed as the first true member of the group (although this identification has been disputed and Cryolophosaurus may be closer to the dilophosaurids). Even if Cryolophosaurus was a tetanuran, this leaves no true tetanuran fossils from the Triassic, when the group should have originated based on the presence of coelophysoids (if the old definition of Ceratosauria is used). This gives heavier validity to the more recent view of tetanurans and ceratosaurs sharing a common ancestor and forming a clade of advanced theropods together.

Large, predatory spinosaurids and allosaurids flourished during the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, especially in Gondwana, but seem to have died out before the end of the Cretaceous, possibly due to competition from abelisaurid ceratosaurs and tyrannosaurid coelurosaurs. The diverse coelurosaurs persisted until the end of the Mesozoic Era, when all except for crown clade avians died out. Modern birds are the only living representatives of the clade Tetanurae.


The cladogram presented below follows a phylogenetic analysis published by Zanno and Makovicky in 2013.[8]


CryolophosaurusCryolophosaurus in Japan White Background.jpg

SinosaurusSinosaurus triassicus white background.JPG


MonolophosaurusMonolophosaurus jiangi White Background.jpg




SpinosauridaeSpinosaurus white background.jpg

MegalosauridaeComplete skeleton of Torvosaurus white background.jpg


CoelurosauriaFMNH Deinonychus white background.JPG




AllosauridaeAllosaurus AMNH White Background.jpg



CarcharodontosauridaeAcrocanthosaurus white background.jpg


  1. ^ Novas, F. E.; Salgado, L.; Suárez, M.; Agnolín, F. L.; Ezcurra, M. N. D.; Chimento, N. S. R.; de la Cruz, R.; Isasi, M. P.; Vargas, A. O.; Rubilar-Rogers, D. (2015). "An enigmatic plant-eating theropod from the Late Jurassic period of Chile". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature14307. 
  2. ^ Benson, R. B. J.; Radley, J. D. (2010). "A New Large-Bodied Theropod Dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Warwickshire, United Kingdom". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 55: 35–42. doi:10.4202/app.2009.0083. 
  3. ^ Hendrickx, C.; Mateus, O.V. (2014). Evans, Alistair Robert, ed. "Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the Largest Terrestrial Predator from Europe, and a Proposed Terminology of the Maxilla Anatomy in Nonavian Theropods". PLoS ONE 9 (3): e88905. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088905. PMC 3943790. PMID 24598585. 
  4. ^ Carrano, M. T.; Benson, R. B. J.; Sampson, S. D. (2012). "The phylogeny of Tetanurae (Dinosauria: Theropoda)". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 10 (2): 211–300. doi:10.1080/14772019.2011.630927. 
  5. ^ Gauthier, J. A. (1986). "Saurischian monophyly and the origin of birds". In Padian, K. The Origin of Birds and the Evolution of Flight, Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences 8. California Academy of Sciences. pp. 1–55. ISBN 0-940228-14-9 http://books.google.com/books?id=B1d0QgAACAAJ. Retrieved 2010-09-25.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Padian, K.; Hutchinson, R. M.; Holtz, T.R. Jr. (1999). "Phylogenetic definitions and nomenclature of the major taxonomic categories of the carnivorous Dinosauria (Theropoda)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 19 (1): 69–80. doi:10.1080/02724634.1999.10011123. 
  7. ^ Rauhut, O. W. M. (2003). The interrelationships and evolution of basal theropod dinosaurs. Special Papers in Palaeontology 69. Wiley. ISBN 0-901702-79-X. 
  8. ^ Zanno, L. E.; Makovicky, P. J. (2013). "Neovenatorid theropods are apex predators in the Late Cretaceous of North America". Nature Communications 4: 2827. Bibcode:2013NatCo...4E2827Z. doi:10.1038/ncomms3827. PMID 24264527.