Named By : L. M. Chiappe, M. A. Norell & J. M. Clark - 1998
Diet : Insectivore / Omnivore
Size : Estimated 60 cm long
Type of Dinosaur : Small Theropod
Type Species : S. deserti (type)
Found in : Mongolia - Djadochta Formation
When it Lived :
Late Cretaceous, 75-81 million years ago
Shuvuuia is a bird-like dinosaurs that lived in the late Cretaceous period in Mongolia. It is part of the family of Alvarezsauridae small coelurosaurian dinosaurs that are distinguished by their powerful, short forelimbs that are specialized to dig. The species of (and the only one identified) kind of this species is Shuvuuia deserti, also known as “desert bird”. The name Shuvuuia comes by it being the Mongolian phrase shuvuu (shuvuu) which means “bird”.
Shuvuuia was tiny and a light-built animal with a small, light build. At 60cm (2 feet) in length, it’s one of the most compact known non-avian dinosaurs. The skull is made of light material with jaws that are long and slim as well as tiny teeth. Shuvuuia is the only non-avian theropods due to its skull’s ability to perform prokinesis which means it can move its jaws independent of the braincase.
the hindlimbs in Shuvuuia were slender, long and had short toes, which could indicate a significant ability to run. The forelimbshowever were remarkably short and well constructed. While initially Shuvuuia as well as other alvarezsaurids were thought to possess one finger on the front of the limb, recent specimens demonstrate the existence of smaller third and second fingers as well as the hugely expanded thumb that was observed from earlier specimens.
Fossils from Shuvuuia are known at present from two sites within the Djadochta Formation: Ukhaa Tolgod and Togrogiin Shiree. The sites are believed to be approximately 75 million years old (late Campanian age). Genera that are currently in use include Velociraptor as well as Protoceratops.