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Dinosaurs demonstrate evolution

By Shan Smillie Time of article published Aug 28, 2018

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Two dinosaur species discovered in China have allowed paleontologists to take a peek into the forces driving evolution.

The two species, Bannykus and Xiyunykus, are alvarezsaurs, that are believed to have shared many similarities with modern day birds and are thought to have eaten insects and lived in colonies.

Professor Jonah Choiniere of Wits university, who was a co author on the research. “With their strong, clawed hands and weak jaws, they appear to be the dinosaurian analogue to today’s aardvarks and anteaters.

“But alvarezsaurs did not originally eat insects - the earliest members of the group had more typically meat-eating teeth and hands, useful for catching small prey. Only later-evolving members reduced their teeth and evolved a hand with a huge, single claw capable, perhaps, of tearing open rotting logs.”

Xiyunykus was discovered in 2005 in Xinjiang, northwestern China, while Bannykus was discovered a few years later in 2009 in Inner Mongolia.

The Saturday Star

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