In China, found the fossilized remains of a dinosaur-runner


31/03/2010

One of the most moving dinosaur known to date was discovered in China. The tiny dinosaur, dubbed by scientists who found it "runner" is also one of the smallest dinosaurs.

As small as half a meter, the fleet-footed theropod named Xixianykus zhangi, used, most likely, powerful claws to dig out termites and ants.

He used his speed to quickly move between anthills and escape from predators.

"The proportions of the limbs Xixianykus - one of the most amazing, we met a dinosaur theropods," - said Dr. Corwin Sullivan (Corwin Sullivan), one of the authors of the study, a Canadian paleontologist working at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing (Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing ).

For example, the small forelimbs much shorter than the rear. The same difference of front and hind legs, seen in many running animals today.

"It is not possible to measure its maximum speed, but suggests that Xixianykus was very effective runner" - said Dr. Sullivan.

Quick digger

An international team of researchers discovered the remains of a dinosaur in the Upper Cretaceous formations (Upper Cretaceous Majiacun Formation) Hennan Province, China.

This is the first of this type of dinosaur known as theropods alvarezzavr (alvarezsaurid theropod), found in China. Only small fragments of his relatives had been previously found in Inner Mongolia, Asia.

The researchers, led by Dr. Hu Xin (Xing Xu) from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, removed incomplete skeleton Xixianykus, consisting of seven vertebrae, sacrum complex, several ribs, parts of the pelvic girdle and most of the hind limb.

Some parts of the skeleton, the scientists confirmed the opinion of Xixianykus, as a very capable runner.

The structure of the hind limb, pelvis and spine provide stability and reduced the number of unnecessary, costly energy movements while running Xixianykus on the prehistoric world.

Dinosaur-runner, as called by the authors of the discovery, most likely hunted small insects such as termites and ants.

Its forelimbs were not preserved, but other dinosaur species alvarezzavr akin Xixianykus, had large claws on short and strong front legs, which, according to scientists who used to dig out anthills and termite mounds. Scientists believe that Xixianykus fed this way.

Some features of the structure, which stabilized the body during running, could also help to keep balance while digging the earth.

"It may sound strange, but between digging and ran a lot in common," - said one of the co-authors of the study, Dr. David Hon (David Hone) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences - "Some modern termite eaters travel long distances between colonies of their prey. Like a good runner, Xixianykus, may do the same. Any little dinosaur is tempting prey for the predators and the ability to run fast on the approach of danger, it is very valuable to this animal. " Just for you the most interesting news on the pages of our portal.

Original: News.bbc.co.uk


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