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Tuesday, 30th of May, 2017
The database has been scoured and today's daily dinosaur is...


an alvarezsaurid maniraptoran theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Argentina.
Pronunciation: bo-nuh-par-toh-ni-kuss
Meaning: Bonaparte's claw
Author/s: Agnolin et al. (2012)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Río Negro, Argentina
Chart Position: 647

Bonapartenykus ultimus

Old father time was not kind to the remains of Bonapartenykus, but from some skulless and partially damaged bones Federico Agnolin and chums reckon they have discovered the youngest but largest known member of alvarezsauridae—the oh-so-weird branch of coelurosaurs that were long-jawed, small-toothed and probably feathered, and had short but stout arms that may have been used for mauling termite mounds.

Unique amongst alvarezsaurids in actually having arms of a semi-respectable length, the skeleton of Bonapartenykus is in some ways similar, superficially, to the South American flightless bird called Nandu and is roughly the same size. It is similar to fellow Pategonian alvarezsaur Patagonykus too: So close, in fact, that the two are now housed in an all new family group Patagonykinae—the latest living alvarezsaurs that are most closely related to modern birds. Also new is Arraigadoolithus patagoniensis the name (known as an "ootaxon") given to a couple of smashed eggs and some bits of shell that were discovered less than a foot away from the skeleton which, the authors claim, "allow us to determine the method of reproduction used by these creatures". Embryo-less and lacking fossilized evidence to suggest they were from a nest, speculation is rife that the eggs may have actually been inside the dinosaur when it died. Alternatively, they might not belong to Bonapartenykus at all, and bones and eggs could have simply been brought together by swirling flood water.

Like an early Christmas present to the media, Bonapartenykus was first mentioned in a manuscript which was "leaked" online in December 2011, long before the authors had intended. You may think this is no big deal but the self-appointed guardians of the unwritten rules wound themselves up something chronic because, apparently, the jewels of the land must not be gazed upon by the tax-paying public's mortal eyes until they are given permission to do so. Whoopsie daisy.
(Bonaparte's claw ) Etymology
Bonapartenykus is derived from the surname of the great Argentinian palaeontologist José F. Bonaparte and the Latin word "onykus" (claw).
The species epithet, ultimus (Latin for "latest"), was chosen because Bonapartenykus represents the youngest alvarezsaurid from South America.
The remains of Bonapartenykus were discovered in the Allen Formation at Salitral Ojo de Agua, Río Negro Province, north-western Patagonia, Argentina.
The holotype (MPCA, 1290) is a partial and poorly preserved skeleton consisting of an incomplete vertebra from the back and material from the shoulder, left leg and hip. Two incomplete eggs and bits of smashed shell were found nearby though whether Bonapartenykus was mothering or plundering them may never be known.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Campanian-Maastrichtian
Age range: 84-66 mya
Vital Stats:
Est. max. length: 2.5 meters
Est. max. hip height: 1 meters
Est. max. weight: 40 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
bonapartenykus size
• Federico L. Agnolin, Jaime E. Powell, Fernando E. Novas and Martin Kundrát (2012) "New alvarezsaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from uppermost Cretaceous of north-western Patagonia with associated eggs". Cretaceous Research, Volume 35, Pages 33–56. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2011.11.014
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "BONAPARTENYKUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 30th May 2017.