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