First One-Fingered Dinosaur Found—Dug for Bugs?
Linhenykus likely used long digit to probe termite mounds.
Unearthed in northeastern China, Linhenykus monodactylus is a member of the theropod dinosaurs, the group of two-legged carnivores that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.
Most theropods had three fingers on each hand. But Linhenykus belongs to a family known as the alvarezsauroids: small, long-legged dinosaurs that had one big finger alongside two barely functional nub fingers.
"Some researchers speculate that these dinosaurs used their hands to dig [up] termite nests," said study leader Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. This was probably the case for Linhenykus as well, he said.