Mononykus (one claw)
Mononykus (one claw)
Named By : A. Perle, M. A. Norell, L. M. Chiappe & J. M. Clark - 1993
Diet : Possibly Insectivore
Size : Estimated 1 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Small Theropod
Type Species : M. olecranus (type.)
Found in : Mongolia - Nemegt Formation
When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 81-68 million years ago
Mononykus (/m@’nanIk@s/m@-NON–i-k@s) is a genus alvarezsaurid dinosaur. It was found in the Asia On The Nemegt Formation around 70 million years ago.
Mononykus was an extremely small theropod. It measured approximately 1 to 1.2 meters (3.3 to 3.9 ft) long and weighed 3.5 kilograms (7.7lb). Mononykus had shaggy feathering, similar to Shuvuuia. It was light-built with short, thin legs. The forelimbs were highly reduced and specialized and likely used to forage termite mounds and other insect colonies.
Thomas Cowart from Durhamderivative work: Ivan Akira, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mononykus is represented in a single holotype specimen catalog number MPC – D 107/6 (previously IGM 107/6). It was found in the Bugiin-Tsav area of the Nemegt Formation. The specimen is a partial skull without a tail and small fragments of skull bones. It also contains a complete braincase. Mononykus was initially named Mononychus, but it was later renamed in 1993 because Johann Schueppel (a German entomologist) had used the original name for a beetle. Mononykus was later misclassified by several other specimens. These included partial tails that were initially misinterpreted as very short. However, later specimens revealed they were quite long and thin. Complete skulls also showed a distinct, almost toothless, form. These specimens were reclassified into the new genus Shuvuuia. Many Mononykus reconstructions, both in art and in museums with mounted skeletons, are based on Shuvuia.
Mononykus was first described in the 1990s. However, it was later reported that an example possibly belonging to this genus was discovered by the Andrews expedition many decades earlier. The American Museum of Natural History had the specimen, which was simply called “bird-like dinosaur”. It is not likely to be Mononykus, however, due to the reassignment to related genera of the other specimens and the age difference (the AMNH specimen comes from the older Djadochta Formation).
Sungjin Lee and his colleagues refered a new specimen, MPC-D 100/206, from the Nemegt Formation in 2019. The specimen is comprised of seven caudal vertebrae and a partial left hindlimb. It was found on the Altan Uul III location in 2008 by an international team from the Korea-Mongolia International Dinosaur Expedition. A small group of fossils belonging to theropods was also discovered by the team, including specimens from Nemegtonykus and Gobiraptor.