Thunder Lizard Thursday: Linhenykus!

linhenykus,© 2015 Liz Vitale

linhenykus,© 2015 Liz Vitale

In 2011, a small theropod dinosaur about two feet tall was discovered in China(the theropod dinosaur family gave rise to modern birds, and included famous names such as Tyrannosaurs  and Velociraptor). The unique feature of the little dinosaur was its arms, or near lack of them, and a single functional finger on each hand bearing a large claw, which scientists believe it used to dig for termites and other insects.
Most theropods had three fingers on each hand, except for a few such as Tyrannosaurus and its famous two-fingered grip. But Linhenykus belongs to a family known as the alvarezsauroids—small, long-legged dinosaurs that had one big finger alongside two barely functional nub fingers. So far, it is the first two-legged dinosaur with only one claw on each forelimb.

Linhenykus gets its name from Linhe, a city near the site where fossils were first found in Mongolia,and Greek nykus, “claw”.


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