Linhenykus (Greek for "Linhe claw"); pronounced LIN-heh-NYE-kuss
Plains of central Asia
Late Cretaceous (85-75 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 3 feet long and a few pounds
Small size; single-clawed hands
Not to be confused with Linheraptor--a classic, feathered raptor of the late Cretaceous period--Linhenykus was actually a type of small theropod known as an alvarezsaur, after the signature genus Alvarezsaurus. The importance of this tiny (no more than two or three pound) predator is that it had only one clawed finger on each hand, making it the first one-fingered dinosaur in the fossil record (most theropods had three-fingered hands, the exception being the two-fingered tyrannosaurs). To judge by its unusual anatomy, the central Asian Linhenykus made its living by digging its single digit into termite mounds and extracting the tasty bugs lurking within.