This bizarre member of the dinosaur family evolved from his carnivorous cousins, and as they did, walked only on its hind legs. It lived approximately 115 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous Period, in what is today Gansu Province in northwestern China. According to researcher, Daqing Li, of the Third Geology and Mineral Resources Exploration Academy of Gansu Province in northwestern China where the fossil was found:
“Suzhousaurus is unique in being the oldest well-known, very large member of this group of dinosaurs. The creature belongs to a group called therizinosaurs, characterized by long necks capped by small heads, massive arms and claws, and flaring ribs and hips that made their bodies very wide.”
It is believed that this group of dinosaurs originated in North America, primarily Utah. Once they arrived in Asia, their body size became much larger. (Perhaps they ate too much pasta or noodles with sauce or the inventors of such?)
Despite being herbivores, therizinosaurs retained the three-clawed forelimbs, which they might have used to pull tree branches toward their mouths and also for defense against carnivorous dinosaurs. The skeleton is not complete, but includes most of the back vertebrae, the shoulder, the front leg and part of the hips. Suzhousaurus is among the largest therizinosaurs known, measuring about 7 yards from head to tail. Scientists believe they may be closely related to birds.
Fossil findings suggest that dinosaurs might have regularly traversed a temporary land bridge over the Bering Strait connecting Asia and North America early in the Cretaceous Period.
Dinosaurs represent important clues to the past of all things and a window into a period of time that is not and may never be fully understood.