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Alvarezsaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Alvarezsaurus (Greek for "Alvarez's lizard"); pronounced al-vah-rez-SORE-us


Woodlands of South America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (85 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 6 feet long and 30-40 pounds


Probably insects

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Long legs and tail; probably feathers


About Alvarezsaurus:

As is often the case in the dinosaur business, even though Alverexsaurus has bestowed its name on an important family of bird-like dinosaurs (the "alvarezsaurids"), this genus itself isn't very well know. Judging by its fragmentary fossil remains, Alvarezsaurus appears to have been a fast, agile runner, and it probably subsisted on insects rather than other dinosaurs. Much better known and understood are two of its closest relatives, Shuvuuia and Mononykus, the former of which is considered by some to have been more bird than dinosaur.

By the way, it's widely believed that Alvarezsaurus was named in honor of the famous paleontologist Luis Alvarez (who helped prove that dinosaurs were rendered extinct by a meteor impact 65 million years ago), but in fact it was named (by another famous paleontologist, Jose F. Bonaparte) after the historian Don Gregorio Alvarez.


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