Monday, July 11, 2011

Dinosaur with Single-clawed

A dinosaur with one-fingered and a single large claw on each hand has been discovered in China.

Scientists believe Linhenykus monodactylus, which stood just 2ft tall and weighed about the same as a huge parrot, may have used its dino-digits to dig into insect nests.

The biped creature belongs to the alvarezsauroids, a branch of the ''theropod'' family of carnivorous dinosaurs.

Theropods gave rise to modern birds and included well-known names such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.

But researchers found Linhenykus had one remarkable feature not seen in any of its relatives, a single functional finger on each hand bearing a large claw.

Michael Pittman, from University College London, one of the scientists who illustrate the find today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: ''Non-avian theropods begin with five fingers but evolved to have only three fingers in later forms.

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