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‘Captain Hook’ dinosaur species with curved claw discovered – Brinkwire

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Paleontologists unearthed a new dinosaur species that has been named it in honor of the mythical character ‘Captain Hook’ because of a unique hooked claw at the end of its arms.
Dubbed Trirarchuncus prairiensis, the creature was covered with sleek feathers and had two short arms with a long claw at each end that it used to dig or break apart wood in search of insects
Researchers discovered three different sized hand claws in the Hell Creek Formation of Montana, one of which is the most complete claw known of the species.
The fossilized claws are also more hooked that others found in the past and are from different growth stages, providing experts with a look at how the hook-handed dinosaur changed as it aged.
The hook-handed dinosaur is a member of alvarezsaurida, which were small, long-legged creatures and have been speculated to represent the earliest ancestors of today’s flightless birds.
The name ‘Trierarchuncus refers to the ‘trierarch’, a seafaring ship’s captain, and ‘uncus’ meaning hook which combined form ‘Captain Hook’ in reference to the hook-handed pirate from Peter Pan.
The new species is the youngest of the group and is said to be one of the last dinosaurs to walk the Earth before being wiped out during the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event.
It had long legs, with feet that look similar to that of an ostrich and a very long, point snout.
What makes this dinosaur so unique was its short arms that had a large claw at the end.
Scientists unearthed three of these hand claws while excavating Hell Creek Formation, which is known as a paleontologist’s dream.
The site is near Jordan, Montana in the eastern region of the state and is littered with division of rocks in North America dating to the end of the Cretaceous Period some 65.5 million years ago.
The three claws provide experts with a growth series of the hook-handed dinosaur, starting with a juvenile up until a full-grown adult.
‘This is important as it is recognized that dinosaurs changed in shape, often significantly, as they grew,’ researchers shared in a statement.
‘Indeed, the new fossils show that as Trierarchuncus grew its hand claw became more robust; blood vessel grooves on the sides of the claw became more deeply embedded in bone; and the claw surface developed from being smooth in young individuals, into a rough surface texture in adults.’
One of the claws is the most complete to be discovered of an Alvarezsaurida and is much hooked than those previously found.

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