The fossil of a dinosaur – a two-legged carnivore has been dug up in China and is believed to have roamed the earth over 160 million years back. Researchers are confident that the fossil is now the oldest ancestor of the bird lineage.
Known as the ‘Haplocheirus sollers’, this dinosaur had a long, narrow skull, small teeth and strong biceps and forelimbs – making its favorite food prehistoric lizards, tiny mammals and reptiles as well. The fossil is believed to have been a young adult at the time of death had a total body length of 190-230 cm, while is equal to a height between 6ft 2 inches and 7ft 6 inches. Other details included in the paper that the researchers published in Science, a journal, states that the dinosaur had a long tail. The fossil was found in the Junggar Basin, Xinjiang, China.
Professor Xu Xing at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleonanthropology said the dinosaur shared a few features with birds, such as moving its hands sideways, its head, hind limbs, hands and vertebral column. The dinosaur’s legs, also, like modern birds had four digits and three digits pointing forwards. However, the first digit points sideways, unlike of birds’ that point backwards. However, Xu reiterated that even though this particular dinosaur shared many bird-like characteristics, it leaned more towards being a carnivorous dinosaur. This is attributed to the fact that its ‘bizarre forelimbs’ though being quite short and stout, were strong and had three claws.
The unearthed fossil is part of the family of Alvarezsauridae.