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Nomingia gobiensis (Barsbold, et al, 2000)
 

 

Name Means: "Nomingiin" (a part of the Gobi Desert) Length: 3 feet (1 m)
Pronounced: no-Ming-ee-uh Weight: Unknown
When it lived: Late Cretaceous - 68 MYA    
Where found: Mongolia, China    

   This little fellow was discovered in 1994. Remains include 13 presacrals, 5 sacrals, 24 caudals in order, pelvis, and partial hindlimbs. It was illustrated in Sloan (1999) and described briefly by Barsbold et al. (2000) before its official publication.  The species was originally called "Nomingia brevicaudia", but the name was was changed to Nomingia gobiensis shortly before publication. Unfused sutures between presacral neural arches and centra indicate that it was not yet mature. This was an extremely important discovery as Nomingia  is the first classic dinosaur known to have possessed a pygostyle, a bone long considered unique to birds.  (See Discussions & Debates)
    This little dinosaur was just about ready to fly! Well, it was at least on its way to becoming a bird. Nomingia is a good example of the term "missing link". For many years scientists have argued about the theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds. While we know that some dinosaurs had feathers and some, like Archaeopteryx, could probably fly, no one had really found a dinosaur that was in the process of changing into a bird. Nomingia wasn't really ready to fly, but this dinosaur definitely was developing some of the features of modern birds. The most important was a short tail that ended in what is called a pygostyle. This is the type of bone that birds have so their tail feathers can attach to their bodies. It lets them steer while flying.
    Nomingia exhibited many characteristics of the typical oviraptoroid. It had a beak, long arms with long claws, and long legs. Some scientists note that, despite the move toward bird-like characteristics, members of this family are not thought to have become avians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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