Definition of saurischian in English:



  • Relating to or denoting dinosaurs of an order distinguished by having a pelvic structure resembling that of lizards.

    Compare with ornithischian
    • ‘The theropod (meaning ‘beast-footed’) dinosaurs are a diverse group of bipedal saurischian dinosaurs.’
    • ‘Theropoda is the second saurischian group, consisting of the carnivorous dinosaurs.’
    • ‘The saurischian dinosaurs include both carnivores, the theropods, and herbivores, the sauropods.’
    • ‘The huge, heavy ‘frill’ of ceratopsians such as Triceratops may have served as armor against the attacks of saurischian predators like Tyrannosaurus, which lived in the same time and place as Triceratops.’
    • ‘The Ornithischia - unlike saurischian dinosaurs, reptiles and birds - possessed mammal-like cheek muscles and cheek pouches to aid in chewing.’


  • A saurischian dinosaur.

    Order Saurischia, superorder Dinosauria; comprises the carnivorous theropods and the herbivorous sauropods

    • ‘It is not clear that dinosaur bones, which are often pneumatic in saurischians, contained a highly nutritious marrow, and if not, the major benefit of bone cracking would have been nonexistent.’
    • ‘Ornithodirans, saurischians, and sauropods are all characterized by having longer necks than their immediate outgroups.’
    • ‘Fossils from this site include both early ornithischians, such as Pisanosaurus, and putative early saurischians, the two major lineages of dinosaurs.’
    • ‘The oldest known dinosaurs, from the middle Triassic of South America, were saurischians.’
    • ‘The pneumatic vertebrae of sauropods and other saurischians are very similar to those of birds and have been considered evidence for the early evolution of the avian respiratory system.’


Late 19th century: from the modern Latin plural Saurischia (from Greek sauros ‘lizard’ + iskhion ‘hip joint’) + -an.