On this day in dinosaurs, we celebrate two fascinating discoveries from recent history.
2011 – Linhenykus Discovery Announced
A one fingered dinosaur? There are more of them than you might think. Linhenykus, announced this day in 2011, is a member of the alvarezsauroid family. Their stubby fingers were likely used for grubbing about for insects, and especially for excavating into termite mounds. Most alvarezsauroids have one large finger and two vestigial nubs, but Linhenykus was the first of the family to be unearthed with just one finger. Without the specializations for digging, it’s not clear exactly how Linhenykus used its digit.
2012 – Oldest Dinosaur Nest Site Discovered
Fossilized dinosaur nests are always extraordinary discoveries, but to unearth 10 separate nests with more than 30 eggs in each is a landmark find. What’s truly extraordinary about the nests found in South Africa announced this day in 2012 is their age–100 million years older than the previous nest record holder. This dinosaur colony is 190 million years old.
Among the treasure trove are embryonic skeletons of the dinosaur Massospondylus. This window into the reproduction of early dinosaurs was unprecedented before this discovery was announced.