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Alectrosaurus (Sergey Krasovskiy)


Alectrosaurus (Greek for "unmarried lizard"); pronounced ah-LEC-tro-SORE-us


Woodlands of Asia

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (80-75 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 17 feet long; weight unknown


Herbivorous dinosaurs

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Thick head with sharp teeth; stunted arms


About Alectrosaurus:

When they were first discovered (on a 1923 expedition to China by paleontologists from New York's American Museum of Natural History), the bones of Alectrosaurus were mixed up with those of another type of dinosaur, a segnosaur (a type of therizinosaur), provoking much confusion. After the mixup was finally sorted out, the researchers announced that they had discovered a previously unknown genus of tyrannosaur--at that time, the first ever dug up in Asia.

To date, paleontologists have had little luck figuring out the obscure Alectrosaurus' exact position on the tyrannosaur family tree, a situation that can only be improved by further fossil discoveries. (One theory is that Alectrosaurus was actually a species of Albertosaurus, but not everyone subscribes to this idea.)


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