Alvarezsaurid dinosaur from the late Cretaceous found in Uzbekistan

Date:

Share post:

Bones from an Alvarezsaurid dinosaur were discovered in Uzbekistan and could shed light on the evolution and origin of the species, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Alexander Averianov of Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia and Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian Institution, USA.

Alvarezsaurid dinosaur from the late Cretaceous found in Uzbekistan
Alvarezsauridae gen. et sp. indet., posterior caudal vertebrae 
[Credit: Averianov et al., 2017]

Previous studies have described Alvarezsauridae as small, long-legged, bipedal dinosaurs with short forelimbs that featured bird-like hands. Since Alvarezsaurid remains are extremely rare, there is plenty to learn about the evolution of this species.

The authors of this study analyzed previously excavated Alvarezsaurid remains from the Turonian Bissekty Formation of Uzbekistan. They examined the vertebrae, the bird-like bone that fuses the wrist and knuckle known as the carpometacarpus, and pieces of what would be the fingers or toes, known as the phalanx. They then measured and compared the shapes and sizes of these bones with those from similar species from the literature.

The authors state that the characteristics for the Alvarezsaurid bones are so distinctive that it could be identified just from the seven bones collected at the Bissekty Formation. These distinctive features included rounded vertebrae located close to the tail, a large and depressed second metacarpal, and a robust second digit with a claw-like end.

While there are competing theories about where the Alvarezsaurid originated, the authors suggest that the discovery of an Alvarezsaurid at this site in Uzbekistan indicates that this group had an evolutionary history in Asia and provides evidence that this continent could have been where the clade originated.

Lead author Hans Sues says: “Our paper reports the discovery of the earliest known alvarezsaurid dinosaur from the Northern Hemisphere, based on 90-million-year-old fossils from Central Asia. Alvarezsaurids were unusual small predatory dinosaurs that had very short but powerfuly built arms that ended in a single large digit.”


Source: PLOS [October 25, 2017]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Linguist’s ‘big data’ research supports waves of migration into the Americas

University of Virginia linguistic anthropologist Mark A. Sicoli and colleagues are applying the latest technology to an ancient...

Real Mayan apocalypse may have been their own fault

For generations, the Maya thrived in an advanced, complex civilization in modern-day Central America. But then their society...

Archaeologists hope to find traces of original fort at Boonesborough

Archaeologists here are sweating out the early summer heat this week, digging down through layers of soil and...

An ignoble end for Mosul’s al-Nuri Mosque and Minaret

The news of the destruction of the 12th-century Great Mosque of al-Nuri and the adjacent al-Hadba Minaret left...

Five ancient Egyptian artefacts smuggled to US repatriated

Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs repatriated on Monday five late pharaonic-era artefacts which had been smuggled to, and...

Dr. Zahi Hawass on why Egypt's stolen artefacts must be returned

When the campaign to restore Egypt’s stolen antiquities first began, the world – particularly the archeological community –...

Lunar orbiters discover source of space weather near Earth

Solar storms -- powerful eruptions of solar material and magnetic fields into interplanetary space -- can cause what...

Lake yields new benchmark for radiocarbon dating much older objects

A new series of radiocarbon measurements from Japan's Lake Suigetsu will give scientists a more accurate benchmark for...