Xixianykus

Name: Xixianykus ‭(‬Xixian claw‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ze-ze-ahn-e-kus.
Named By: X.‭ ‬Xu,‭ ‬D.-Y.‭ ‬Wang,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Sullivan,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬W.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Hone,‭ ‬F.-L.‭ ‬Han,‭ ‬R.-H.‭ ‬Yan‭ & ‬F.-M.‭ ‬Du‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.
Classification: Choradata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Alvarezsauridae,‭ ‬Parvicursorinae,‭ ‬Ceratonykini.
Species: X.‭ ‬zhangi‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Insectivore.
Size: About‭ ‬50‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: China,‭ ‬Henan Province,‭ ‬Xixia County‭ ‬-‭ ‬Majiacun Formation.
Time period: Santonian/Coniacian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial but articulated post cranial skeleton.

       At the time of its description the genus Xixianykus represents the oldest known parvicursorine alvarezsaur discovered‭ (‬others are dated to the Campanian/Maastrichtian eras‭)‬.‭ ‬The legs of Xixianykus are of particular interest since they are about twenty centimetres long,‭ ‬which in relation to a total body length estimated at fifty centimetres long,‭ ‬means that Xixianykus had one of the longest leg to body length ratios of not just alvarezsaurs,‭ ‬but dinosaurs in general.‭ ‬This meant that despite the small size,‭ ‬Xixianykus would have been exceptionally fast runners,‭ ‬perhaps even being able to outpace potential predators such as dromaeosaurids.
       A possible predatory threat and genus that Xixianykus should not be confused due to name similarity is the troodontid genus Xixiasaurus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A basal parvicursorine‭ (‬Theropoda:‭ ‬Alvarezsauridae‭) ‬from the Upper Cretaceous of China‭ ‬-‭ ‬X.‭ ‬Xu,‭ ‬D.-Y.‭ ‬Wang,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Sullivan,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬W.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Hone,‭ ‬F.-L.‭ ‬Han,‭ ‬R.-H.‭ ‬Yan‭ & ‬F.-M.‭ ‬Du‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.



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