How did bird-like meat-eat­ing di­nosaurs lose their fin­gers?

The Day After - - COFFEE HOUSE -

An in­ter­na­tional team of pa­le­on­tol­o­gists have found how a meat-eat­ing species of di­nosaurs lost their fin­gers. The fos­sil spec­i­mens of “Xiyun­ykus pengi” and “Ban­nykus wu­laten­sis”, dis­cov­ered in China, are an enig­matic group of theropods known as al­varezsaurs. Their bod­ies were found to be slen­der, with a bird-like skull and many small teeth in­stead of the usual large, sharp cut­ting teeth of their meat-eat­ing rel­a­tives.

“Al­varezsaurs are weird an­i­mals. With their strong, clawed hands and weak jaws, they ap­pear to be the di­nosaurian ana­logue to to­day’s aard­varks and anteaters,” said Jonah Choiniere, As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor at the Wits Univer­sity in South Africa. Ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers, the al­varezsaurs did not al­ways look this way. Early mem­bers of the group had rel­a­tively long arms with strong-clawed hands and typ­i­cal meat-eat­ing teeth.

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