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Bonapartenykus (Gabriel Lio)


Bonapartenykus (Greek for "Bonaparte's claw"); pronounced BONE-ah-part-eh-NYE-cuss


Woodlands of South America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 8 feet long and 100 pounds


Probably insects

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Moderate size; bipedal stance; feathers


About Bonapartenykus:

Although raptors get the most press, some of the most important feathered dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period were the "alvarezsaurs," named after the eponymous Alvarezsaurus (which was itself named after the South American historian Don Gregorio Alvarez). Complete fossilized specimens of alvarezsaurs have been maddeningly elusive, though, forcing paleontologists to reconstruct these dinosaurs on the basis of scattered bone fragments.

Now, a new piece of evidence has emerged in the alvarezsaur mystery. Recently, a team of paleontologists excavated the partial remains of a new, relatively large feathered dinosaur, Bonapartenykus, which were found in the immediate vicinity of two fossilized eggs. It's unclear, as yet, whether these eggs had already been laid when the mother Bonapartenykus perished, or if they were still in her oviduct and fossilized there after she died.

The name Bonapartenykus, by the way, isn't a reference to the famous French general Napoleon Bonaparte, but rather to the famous Argentinean paleontologist Jose F. Bonaparte, who has named a huge number of dinosaurs in the past couple of decades.


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