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Saurischia is one of the two basic divisions of dinosaurs (the other being Ornithischia). In 1888, Harry Seeley

220px-Saurischia pelvis structure.svg

classified dinosaurs into two orders, based on their hip structure, though today most paleontologists classify Saurischia as an unranked clade rather than an order.

All carnivorous dinosaurs (certain types of theropods) are saurischians, as are all of the birds and one of the two primary lineages of herbivorous dinosaurs, the sauropodomorphs. At the end of the Cretaceous Period, all saurischians except the birds became extinct in the course of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Birds, as direct descendants of one group of theropod dinosaurs, are a sub-clade of saurischian dinosaurs in phylogenetic classification. Saurischian dinosaurs are traditionally distinguished from ornithischian dinosaurs by their three-pronged pelvic structure, with the pubis pointed forward. The ornithischians' pelvis is arranged with the pubis rotated backward, parallel with the ischium, often also with a forward-pointing process, giving a four-pronged structure. The saurischian hip structure led Seeley to name them "lizard-hipped" dinosaurs, because they retained the ancestral hip anatomy also found in modern lizards and other reptiles. He named ornithischians "bird-hipped" dinosaurs because their hip arrangement was superficially similar to that of birds, though he did not propose any specific relationship between ornithischians and birds. However, as later study revealed, this "bird-hipped" arrangement actually evolved several times independently in dinosaurs, first in the ornithischians, then in the lineage of saurischians including birds (Avialae), and lastly in the therizinosaurians. In this example of convergent evolution, avialans, therizinosaurians, and ornithischian dinosaurs all developed a similar hip anatomy independently of each other, possibly as an adaptation to their herbivorous or omnivorous diets.

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