Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 160Ma
|Species:||† H. sollers|
Choiniere et al., 2010
Haplocheirus is a genus of alvarezsauroid theropod dinosaur. It is the most basal member of its clade. It is the oldest known alvarezsauroid, predating all other members by about 63 million years. This also makes it about 15 million years older than the oldest known bird Archaeopteryx. Haplocheirus was described in 2010 from a fossil specimen found from the 160 million year old Shishugou Formation in the Junggar Basin of northwestern China. The type species is H. sollers, meaning "simple-handed skillful one", referencing its hypothesized behavior of using its three-fingered hands for activities other alvarezsauroids couldn't, such as catching prey.
Haplocheirus was the largest known definite alvarezsauroid, at around 2 meters long. It had an enlarged thumb claw like other alvarezsauroids, but also retained two other functional fingers, unlike more derived alvarezsauroids, where only the thumb was significantly large and clawed. It had long legs and was probably a fast runner.
- Choiniere, J. N.; Xu, X.; Clark, J. M.; Forster, C. A.; Guo, Y.; and Han, F. (2010). "A basal alvarezsauroid theropod from the Early Late Jurassic of Xinjiang, China". Science 327 (5965): 571–574. doi:10.1126/science.1182143. PMID 20110503.
- Choiniere, J. (2010). Guest Post: Haplocheirus, the Skillful One Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings, April 23, 2011.
- Richard Stone Bird-Dinosaur Link Firmed Up, And in Brilliant Technicolor Science 29 January 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5965, p. 508, DOI 10.1126/science.327.5965.508
- Doreen Walton New dinosaur discovery solves evolutionary bird puzzle BBC News Thursday, 28 January 2010
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