Monday, January 24, 2011


Single Fingered Species

A new dinosaur species whose members were similar in size to a parrot having only one finger was discovered by a scientist. Scientists view that rare solitary digit as evidence that the evolution of dinosaurs was more complex than they first believed.

Parrot Size Dinosaur

The new dinosaur was found in rocks formed from 84 million to 75 million years ago in Linhe, a city near the Yellow River.The new dinosaur, called Linhenykus, "most likely grew to a few feet tall and weighed only as much as a large parrot", said Xu, who led the international team of scientists that discovered the species.

Xu and others believe theropod dinosaurs started with five fingers but evolved in later forms to have only three fingers. Some eventually became birds.Scientists have come to agree that the evolution of dinosaurs' hands was brought about more by random mutations than by basic adaptive evolution.

"The discovery of the one-fingered dinosaur only reconfirms the fact that digital reduction is a striking evolutionary phenomenon, far more complicated than we've expected," Xu said.The presence of only one finger in Linhenykus shows the vestigial fingers.Vestigial structures, like legs in whales and snakes, may appear and disappear seemingly randomly in the course of evolution," Choiniere said.

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