Nothronychus mckinleyi

  • Pronounced:  noth - Ron -ih - cuss

  • Diet:  Herbivore (plant-eater)

  • Name Means:  "Sloth-Like Claw"

  • Length:  20 feet (6 m)

  • Height:  10 feet (3 m)

  • Weight:  1 ton (900 kilos)

  • Time:  Late Cretaceous - 90 MYA

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in North America

Nothronychus was a very strange looking plant-eater that evolved from a meat-eating dinosaur family. The discovery of Nothronychus has caused a lot of discussion among scientists. Before its discovery, this family of dinosaurs was known only from Asia.

It is closely related to Therizinosaurus, an Asian relative that was slightly larger. It may have had feathers as others in its family have been discovered with the remains of protofeathers in their fossils. This dinosaur has helped paint a picture of what life was like in the middle Cretaceous period in North America, a time period for which very few fossils have been discovered.

While the claws were very long, they were not very curved. In cross section they were also quite thin. One theory is that these claws were used to help it strip leaves from branches as well as being a formidable defensive weapon. Therizinosaurs had fairly long necks, small heads, and teeth that would have been used to eat plants.

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