Paleontologists in China have discovered a new species of dinosaur, which had on each of their short front legs only one finger. A unique prehistoric lizard was named Linhenykus monodactylus, news agency AFP. Large size parrot dinosaur weighed just over half a kilogram and can grow to a height of about 70 cm, shows a reconstruction of the scientific journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Carnivorous dinosaur, whose remains were discovered in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was a relative Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. These lizards are also the theropod ancestry of birds today.
Linhenykus monodactylus, whose name is derived from the location of the finding of Lin-che, lived during the Late Cretaceous 84-75 million years ago.
An international team of paleontologists discovered the rock in the geological department of Wu-lan-su-hai a large portion of the skeleton: bones of the spine, pelvis, almost complete hind legs and part of the front.
The most surprising feature of linhenyka but his one big claw on the front foot – the researchers believe that it used to Kick insect breeding grounds. Lizard has a relatively small teeth compared to other carnivorous dinosaurs, so it was most likely insectivorous. Anyway, this is the only known species of dinosaur with one finger.
Theropod dinosaurs in the early stages of development had five fingers, he reminded the team member Michael Pittmann University of London. Finally, they reduced the number of fingers to three, but for example had two Tyrannosaurus.
Why lose two fingers, one knows
And linhenykus evolution in this group, which includes mostly small lizards ran fast, even more complicated. Reasons why it lost two fingers are not clear. Maybe it was a natural choice because it is not used.
“They are basic structures such as legs in whales and snakes, which may disappear, and discover the pretense randomly during evolution,” said another spolunálezce Jonah Choiniere from the American Museum of Natural Sciences. “Linhenykus is an example of evolutionary complexity of the fingers and may be linked to differences in behavior or use of the environment.”
‘Parrot’ dinosaur is tied for the ecosystem of small mammals, lizards, Ankylosaurs (armored dinosaur weighing five to seven tons), and horned dinosaurs (ceratops).
Wu-lan-su-hai is rich in fossils of ancient vertebrate. For example, last year there has been discovered Linheraptor exquisitus, almost two meters long dinosaur. This is only a nearly complete skeleton of this species.
In fact dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 150 million years. By 65 million years extinct due to climate change is likely caused by a giant meteorite impact. In their place were other species, especially mammals.