Pronunciation: ah-LEK-tro-SOR-us Meaning: Mateless lizard Author/s: Gilmore (1933) Synonyms: None known First Discovery: Inner Mongolia, China Chart Position: 132
When Charles Whitney Gilmore clapped eyes on Alectrosaurus in 1933, he immediately proclaimed it "a hitherto unknown theropod" simply on the strength of its unusually long upper arms and huge hand claws. As luck would have it, he was right, but the clawed forelimb on which he based his claim is actually the property of an as-yet unidentified member of Segnosauria, while Alectrosaurus is a smooth-snouted tyrannosauroid, though one teetering on the brink of Tyrannosauridae proper.
Mateless lizardEtymologyAlectrosaurus is derived from the Greek "alektros" (mateless, unmarried, or alone) and "sauros" (lizard). Confusion often stems from the similar Greek "alektor" (rooster) but Alectrosaurus was definately no "rooster lizard!"
The species epithet, olseni, is a nod to George Olsen (see below).
DiscoveryThe first fossils of Alectrosaurus were recovered from the Iren Dabasu Formation (also known as Iren nor which roughly translates as "colorful salt lake") of Nei Mongol Zizhiqu (Inner Mongolia), China, by George Olsen during the third AMNH expedition to Mongolia in 1923. The holotype (AMNH 6554) consists of a single hindlimb, proportionately weird for a "tyrant lizard"; the thigh, shin and foot were roughly the same length.