Microvenator

Name: Microvenator ‭(‬small hunter‭)‬.
Phonetic: My-kro-ven-ah-tor.
Named By: John Ostrom‭ ‬-‭ ‬1970.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Oviraptorosauria,‭ ‬Caenagnathidae.
Species: M.‭ ‬celer‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬chagyabi.
Diet: Uncertain.
Size: Holotype is estimated at about‭ ‬1.2‭ ‬meters long,‭ ‬but this is of a juvenile.‭ ‬Adult size roughly estimated at about‭ ‬3‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬Montana‭ ‬-‭ ‬Cloverly Formation.‭ ‬Wyoming‭ ‬-‭ ‬Cloverly Formation.
Time period: Albian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial remains.

       The holotype individual of Microvenator was first discovered by the famed American palaeontologist Barnum Brown in‭ ‬1933.‭ ‬Brown noted that the holotype individual had what he thought was a disproportionately large head,‭ ‬and so came up with the name Megadontosaurus.‭ ‬A reference to the large head,‭ ‬but also the teeth found near it.‭ ‬Two problems occurred however.‭ ‬The first is that the teeth attributed to this dinosaur actually came from the dromaeosaurid Deinonychus,‭ ‬one of the more common predatory small theropod dinosaurs living in North America during the later stages of the Early Cretaceous.‭ ‬Second,‭ ‬the name Megadontosaurus was never actually published,‭ ‬meaning it was never recorded as valid.
       After studying the partial remains of this dinosaur,‭ ‬another palaeontologist named John Ostrom used this to formally describe the genus Microvenator which means small hunter,‭ ‬a reference to the small body size of the holotype individual.‭ ‬Ostrom also added a tooth‭ (‬YPM‭ ‬5366‭) ‬from a Yale Peabody Museum collection to the genus.‭ ‬Then in‭ ‬1998‭ ‬a study by Mackovicky and Sues finally shed some clearer light upon this dinosaur.‭
       Microvenator is now known to have been an oviraptosaurid dinosaur,‭ ‬and since it was living‭ ‬in‭ ‬what is now the USA during the Albian of the Cretaceous,‭ ‬it is at the time of writing the earliest known genus of oviraptosaur that lived in North America.‭ ‬This also explains Browns original interpretation of this dinosaur having an unusually large head.‭ ‬Brown only ever‭ ‬had‭ ‬partial fragmentary remains of the skull and lower jaw to study,‭ ‬so he never knew for certain the true form,‭ ‬but oviraptosaurs generally do have skulls that are larger and bulkier than those seen in other theropod dinosaurs.‭ ‬Oviraptosaurs however usually also have toothless jaws,‭ ‬again confirming that the Deinonychus teeth should not have been included,‭ ‬but also supporting the conclusion by Mackovicky and Sues that the tooth YPM‭ ‬5366‭ ‬should not be included in with the genus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Stratigraphy and paleontology of the Cloverly Formation‭ (‬Lower Cretaceous‭) ‬of the Bighorn Basin area,‭ ‬Wyoming and Montana.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Peabody Museum Bulletin‭ ‬35:1-234.‭ ‬-‭ ‬J.‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Ostrom‭ ‬-‭ ‬1970.
-‭ ‬Anatomy and phylogenetic relationships of the Theropod Dinosaur Microvenator celer from the Lower Cretaceous of Montana.‭ ‬-‭ ‬American Museum Novitates.‭ ‬Number‭ ‬3240,‭ ‬27pp.‭ ‬27‭ ‬August‭ ‬1998.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Peter J.‭ ‬Mackovicky‭ & ‬Hans-Dieter Sues‭ ‬-‭ ‬1998.
-‭ ‬Late Cretaceous oviraptorosaur‭ (‬Theropoda‭) ‬dinosaurs from Montana,‭ ‬by D.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Varricchio.‭ ‬In Mesozoic Vertebrate Life.‭ ‬Indiana University Press,‭ ‬Indianapolis,‭ ‬Indiana,‭ ‬pp‭ ‬42-57,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Tanke‭ & ‬K.‭ ‬Carpenter‭ (‬eds‭)‬.



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