Xixianykus

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Xixianykus
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 83Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Theropoda
Family: Alvarezsauridae
Subfamily: Parvicursorinae
Node: Ceratonykini
Genus: Xixianykus
Xu et al, 2010
Species: † X. zhangi
Binomial name
Xixianykus zhangi
Xu et al., 2010

Xixianykus is a genus of alvarezsauroid theropod dinosaur from the late Cretaceous period of China.[1]

Naming[edit]

The type species is Xixianykus zhangi described in 2010 by Xu Xing. The genus name refers to Xixia County and to the Greek word for claw ("nyx"). The latter is a common element used in names for Alvarezsaurids. The species name is in honor of Zhang Xinglao.

Discovery[edit]

The fossil, holotype XMDFEC V0011, was found in the Majiacun Formation in Henan Province, China. The fossil consists of a partial skeleton, without the skull. Parts of the hind legs, pelvis and spine has also been recovered.

Age[edit]

It is among the oldest of the derived alvarezsauroids, the parvicursorines, dated to the Santonian-Coniacian as opposed to other parvicursorines, which are either Campanian or Maastrichtian.[2]

Description[edit]

Xixianykus was a small animal, about 50 cm long en 20 cm high. It is one of the smallest known dinosaurs (not counting avians). It appears to have many adaptations towards a cursorial (running) lifestyle. It was about 50 centimetres (20 in) long but had 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long legs and a short femur combined with a long tibia and metatarsus, which are good indicators of it being a fast runner.[2] It was probably covered in feathers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Xu, X., Wang, D.Y., Sullivan, C., Hone, D.W.E., Han, F.L., Yan, R.H. and Du, F.M. (2010). "A basal parvicursorine (Theropoda: Alvarezsauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of China.". Zootaxa, 2413: 1-19.
  2. ^ a b Hone, D. (2010). Xixianykus zhangi - A New Alvarezsaur Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings, April 23, 2011.

External links[edit]