First-ever single-claw dinosaur fossil found in China

13:46, March 30, 2010      

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Chinese scientists have found what is believed to be one of the oldest ever fossils of the mononykus (meaning "one claw") species of dinosaur, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). (Xinhua Photo)

Chinese scientists have found what is believed to be one of the oldest ever fossils of the mononykus (meaning "one claw") species of dinosaur, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The fossil was discovered at the Upper Cretaceous Majiacun Formation of Xixia County, in central China's Henan Province, which dates back more than 63 million years, and represented one of the earliest species of the mononykus in the world, scientists said Monday.

Small and bird-like, the fossil weighed less than 1 kg.

As one of the theropod dinosaur species, the mononykus had short and single-clawed forelimbs in sharp contrast with its long and skinny legs, and scientists speculate that the mononykus could run at high speed.

The team was led by Xu Xing, researcher from the CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, and Wang Deyou, researcher from the Research Institute of Land and Resources in Henan.

The findings were published in the peer-reviewed science journal, Zootaxa, on Monday.

In Xixia, a large number of dinosaur egg fossils have been found, accounting for half of the total in China and one third of the total in the world, but dinosaur fossil finds are rare.

Source: Xinhua
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