Friday 22 November 2013

The foot of a small Alvarezsauroid Dinosaur from Inner Mongolia, China.

Alvarezsauroids were small Maniraptoran Theropod Dinosaurs known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous of Eurasia and North and South America. They had long hindlimbs and tails and large heads but small teeth, and the forelimbs were greatly reduced in many species, though they retained a large and impressively clawed thumb. They were probably good runners, and it has been suggested that the clawed thumbs may have been used to break into termite mounds or similar structures, though despite a reasonable number of specimens, their biology and taxonomic affinities are not well understood, largely due to their small, delicate skeletons, which are seldom preserved in their entirety.

In a paper published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica on 27 January 2012, David Hone of the School of Biology & Environmental Sciences at University College DublinInstitute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing and School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of LondonJonah Choiniere of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Qingwei Tan of the Long Hao Institute of Geology and Paleontology and Xing Xu of the Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology in Beijing describe the hind-foot of an Alvarezsauroid Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Wulansuhai Formation at Bayan Mandahu in Inner Mongolia.

The Bayan Mandahu Alvarezsauroid foot in anterior (A), medial (B), posterior (C), and lateral (D) views. Abbreviations: mt, metatarsal; I–IV, digits; 1–3, phalanges of a given digit. Hone et al. (2012).

The specimen is assigned to the genus Linhenykus, which is known from a single specimen (Linhenykus monodactylus) from the same location. The previous specimen had only partial feet. Due to the limited material the new specimen is not classified to species level.

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