Fun Albertonykus Facts For Kids

Ritika Katariya
Jan 31, 2023 By Ritika Katariya
Originally Published on Oct 20, 2021
Edited by Hannah Bowyer
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Discover amazing Albertonykus facts in this article.

The Albertonykus is a bird-like dinosaur from North America. Its name sounds similar to the Albertosaurus, which was actually a Tyrannosaurus theropod.

The genus had only one species, the Albertonykus borealis, which is known to come from the Lower Maastrichtian of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta, Canada.

The North American Alvarezsaurid was well known due to its accidental discovery which intrigued excavators to learn more about it. The location where the fossils were discovered was a location more prevalent with Albertosaurus fossils.

During the first excavation, two individuals were recovered from the Albertosaurus bonebed of the dry island provincial park, one of which was the Albertonykus.

According to Longrich and Currie, the Albertonykus borealis was a small and feathered dinosaur that was very closely related to the Alvarezsaurus found in South America. The Alvarezsaurus from Alberta (Canada) and Albertonykus borealis were drawn into correlational studies and these studies concluded that the Albertonykus was declared to be a sub-species of the Albertonykus.

To learn more about other dinosaur species, you can check out these Heterodontosaurus and Homalocephale facts.

Albertonykus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Albertonykus'?

Albertonykus is pronounced as 'Al-ber-to-ny-kus'.

What type of dinosaur was an Albertonykus?

Fossils suggest that the Albertonykus was an Alvarezsaurs from the Dinosauria order. In simple terms, it was a bird-like feathered dinosaur that was an insectivore by diet. A lot of modern-day birds resemble the Albertonykus.

In which geological period did the Albertonykus roam the earth?

The Albertonykus existed during the lower Maastrichtian age of the Upper Cretaceous era, which was around  72.1 million to 66 million years ago.

When did the Albertonykus become extinct?

The Albertonykus became extinct after the end of the Maastrichtian age of the late cretaceous age.

Where did an Albertonykus live?

The Albertonykus fossil was discovered in Canada (Alberta) and is known to have spread out to North America as well. However, the species itself originated in South America.

What was an Albertonykus' habitat?

The habitat of the Albertonykus was located in the borings of the Horseshoe CanyonFormation. This site was grassland with mountainous terrain.

Who did an Albertonykus live with?

Remains of the Albertonykus were found alongside Albertosaurus remains, hence it is clear that the two definitely coexisted. It is also possible that dinosaurs from other species also existed with the Albertonykus since North America was a popular habitat for many dinosaurs.

How long did an Albertonykus live?

The exact lifespan of this North American dinosaur is unknown. However, research suggests that it had a short lifespan.

How did they reproduce?

These dinosaurs from the Alvarezsauridae genus were oviparous like other dinosaurs. They laid elongated eggs that were almost one-third of their own body size. Their nests were made among the bushes in a shallow pit on the ground. These dinosaurs were also believed to be nest raiders.

Albertonykus Fun Facts

What did an Albertonykus look like?

The Albertonykus color was believed to be a pale gray with whitish underparts and a black back. It had long feet that provided its speed and short hooked forelimbs (claws) that were almost as sharp as a bird's beak. It also had a mouth full of sharp teeth.

The claw bone was somewhat like a feather and a limb. As for the other parts, it had a long neck and a beaked mouth for penetrating into wood nesting.

However, they were too short to perform burrowing. It also had a long bony tail with flocked feathers toward the end of the tip. All in all these dinosaurs showed many ancestral features of modern birds.

The Albertonykus was known to dig for its food.

How many bones did an Albertonykus have?

The Albertonykus skeleton was discovered in fragments. As the dinosaur was scattered around, it was difficult to count the total number of bones. The claw bone was the first to be procured.

How did they communicate?

The alvarezsaurid from Alberta probably communicated through calls and squeaks and other verbal gestures, similar to other dinosaurs.

How big was an Albertonykus?

As per fossil records, the Albertonykus size was on the smaller side. It was as big as 2.5 ft (76.2 cm) long, whereas the European Heptasteornis, a bigger Alvarezsaurid, reached a length of 8.2 ft (2.5 m). Thus the Albertonykus was almost four times smaller than the European Heptasteornis.

How fast could an Albertonykus move?

Since it was bipedal and had a small body with less pressure on its legs, this dinosaur from late cretaceous is believed to have an excellent speed. Moreover, the clade itself is classified as a family of 'swift runners.'

How much did an Albertonykus weigh?

The Albertonykus was 11 lb (5 kg). The Bonapartenykus, another Alvarezsauridae, weighed around 100 lb (45.3 kg). Thus the Albertonykus was nine times smaller than the Bonapartenykus.

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and female were known by the common name Albertonykus.

What would you call a baby Albertonykus?

A baby was known as a hatchling, just like its cousin reptiles.

What did they eat?

The Albertonykus was believed to consume insects like ants and termites. Ants did not really have a great presence in the ecosystem of the late cretaceous and termites did not have any presence at all. Thus it was concluded that this species would have fed on wood termites.

How aggressive were they?

Usually, non-avian theropods were the aggressive ones. The Alvarezsaurid was prey and not a predator itself, and this led to the belief that they were only as aggressive as needed to protect themselves from predators.

Did you know...

The name 'Albertonykus ' is made up of two words: Alberto, meaning belonging to Alberta, and nykus, meaning claws.

Albertonykus borealis, a new alvarezsaur (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Early Maastrichtian of Alberta, Canada was discovered in 2009. It is now a sub-species of the Albertosaurus.

The Albertonykus borealis is known to be bigger than the North American Albertonykus from Canada.

According to the University of Calgary, the Albertonykus was North America's smallest dinosaur. Likewise, the Albertonykus is the smallest Alvarezsaur.

How was the Albertonykus discovered?

The discovery of Albertonykus was an accident. Excavators procured a bonebed full of unidentified bone fragments which were huge in size. These bone fragments were the dominant ones and they were declared to belong to the Tyrannosaururs Albertosaurus. Coincidentally, the bones of another, smaller dinosaur were found alongside these and that's how the Albertonykus was discovered.

What was the purpose of Albertonykus' forelimbs?

The forelimbs of the Albertonykus included sickle-like claws which looked like they were perfect for digging into soil or wood. It was proposed that the Albertonykus would have hunted on insects and termites that housed underneath soil and tree barks.

This conclusion also lays the basis for the correlation between this bird-like dinosaur and modern-day birds who also feed on insects.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Kulindadromeus fun facts, or Kryptodrakon facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Albertonykus coloring pages.

Main image by Karkemish

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Written by Ritika Katariya

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritika Katariya picture

Ritika KatariyaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated content writer and language enthusiast, Ritika holds a Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Fergusson College. With a keen interest in linguistics and literary adaptations, she has conducted extensive research in these domains. Beyond her academic pursuits, Ritika actively volunteers at her university, providing academic and on-campus assistance to fellow students.

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