Mononykus (one claw)
A. Perle, M. A. Norell, L. M. Chiappe & J. M. Clark - 1993
Estimated 1.5 meters long
M. olecranus (type)
Mongolia - Nemegt Formation
Late Cretaceous, 70 million years ago
Mononykus is a genus of small theropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago. Its fossils were first discovered in Mongolia in 1993 and were described and named by Perle, Norell, and Clark in 1993.
The name Mononykus means “one claw,” referring to the unusual feature of this dinosaur – it had a single large claw on each of its forelimbs. This feature is thought to have been an adaptation for digging or burrowing, as Mononykus is believed to have been a ground-dwelling animal.
Mononykus was a relatively small dinosaur, measuring only about 1.5 meters (5 feet) in length. Its skeleton was lightly built and its arms were reduced in size, which suggests that it was not well adapted for grasping prey or defending itself. Instead, it likely used its large claws to dig up food or to create burrows for shelter.
Although Mononykus is a relatively obscure dinosaur, it is an important species for scientists studying the evolution of theropod dinosaurs. Its unique adaptations suggest that it represents a transitional form between more typical theropods and the specialized, flightless birds that evolved from them.