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an omnivorous caenagnathid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Canada.
Pronunciation: KIE-ro-STEN-oh-teez
Meaning: Narrow hand
Author/s: Gilmore (1924)
Synonyms: See below
First Discovery: Alberta, Canada
Chart Position: 107

Chirostenotes pergracilis

Chirostenotes was named for a pair of narrow hands (its name means narrow hands) in 1924. Eight years later a couple of feet became Macrophalangia (broad toes), and 1936 saw the discovery of a set of jaws named... wait for it... Caenagnathus (recent jaw). They were all discovered in Alberta. Thankfully, the naming of dinosaurs after newly discovered body parts was nipped in the bud before it got completely out of a hand as a specimen stored in an old museum since 1923 was dusted off and studied. It helped link all of these bits into a single dinosaur and, as it was named first, Chirostenotes is the name it was given. A second set of jaws with strange teeth were assigned here too, but as Chirostenotes was a toothless oviraptorosaur they were used to raise an all new dinosaur; Richardoestesia instead. It's since lost ownership of the first jaws too as Caenagnathus turned out to be valid after all.

Chirostenotes had a break (but it wasn't a bird as originally thought) and while not as robust as those of its Asian relatives it was probably powerful enough to deal with a varied diet of leaves, nuts and shellfish, and even the odd cowering mammal or egg. Its legs were long and powerful with long slender toes, and its head was adorned with a casque-like crest. But its long arms with slender and relatively straight claws have prompted the most speculation. In 2005 Senter and Parrish surmised that the elongated middle digit of Chirostenotes may have been an adaptation for poking crevices and scraping out grubs. But if it possessed large primary feathers — like those found on other oviraptorosaurs such as Caudipteryx — crevice poking may have been a tad problematic.

Chirostenotes is a member of Elmisaurinae, a group of advanced oviraptorosaurs with an arctometatarsus - a condition where the middle metatarsal is "pinched" between the ones each side of it. Also seen in tyrannosaurs, alvarezsaurs, ornithomimosaurs, and troodontids, this painful-sounding feature is an advantage rather than a handicap, as it seems to be a design for swift running, though know one knows for sure.
Chirostenotes is derived from the Greek "kheir" (hand) and "stenotes" (narrow) because of its... narrow hands.
The species epithet, pergracilis, is derived from the Latin "per" (throughout) and "gracilis" (slender), in reference to its slender build.
Macrophalangia canadensis (Sternberg, 1932)
Caenagnathus collinsi? (Sternberg, 1940)
Ornithomimus elegans (Parks, 1933)
Elmisaurus elegans? (Parks, 1933) (Currie, 1989)
Caenagnathus sternbergi (Cracraft, 1971)
Chironstenotes sternbergi (Cracraft, 1971)
The first remains of Chirostenotes were discovered near Little Sandhill Creek in Canada's Dinosaur Park Formation by George Fryer Sternberg in 1914. They were studied by Lawrence Lambe who popped his clogs before he had a chance to officially name them but Charles Whitney Gilmore picked up the baton and named Chirostenotes based on a name mentioned in Sternberg's notes.
The holotype (NMC 2367) is a pair of hands.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Campanian
Age range: 83-70 mya
Est. max. length: 2 meters
Est. max. hip height: 0.9 meters
Est. max. weight: 30 Kg
Diet: Omnivore
Second Species?
In 1989, Phil Currie used a foot from Alberta (ROM 781, that William Arthur Parks named Ornithomimus elegans in 1933) and a small lower jaw (CMN 2690, that Joël Cracraft named Caenagnathus sternbergi in 1971) to anchor a second species of the closely related Elmisaurus; Elmisaurus elegans. Hans-Dieter Sues assigned these same remains to a second species of Chirostenotes; Chirostenotes elegans, in 1997 which was a bit controversial at the time. Nicholas Longerich renamed it Leptorhynchos elegans in 2013.
• G.S. Paul (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs" (Princeton Field Guides)
• P. Senter and J.M. Parrish (2005) "Functional analysis of the hands of the theropod dinosaur Chirostenotes pergracilis: evidence for an unusual paleoecological role".
• P.J. Currie and D.A. Russell (1988) "Osteology and relationships of Chirostenotes pergracilis from the Judith River (Oldman) Formation of Alberta, Canada".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "CHIROSTENOTES :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 25th Mar 2017.