Fun Linhenykus Facts For Kids

Sharon Judith
Feb 20, 2024 By Sharon Judith
Originally Published on Sep 28, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Continue reading to discover more interesting Linhenykus facts that you're sure to enjoy!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Linhenykus is a theropod that is of the Alvarezsauroid genus of dinosaurs and its fossil remains were discovered in northeastern China and parts of Inner Mongolia about 72 million years ago. Believed to have just a single digit on each hand, these theropod dinosaurs gave rise to some of the modern birds found today. Some famous dinosaur species like the Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor have also come from Linhenykus. The fossil of Linhenykus was collected by Jonah N. Choiniere and Michael Pittman in the Wulansuhai Formation. Being the latest dinosaur discovery, this new dinosaur was a two-legged carnivore and the only known non-avian dinosaur to have a single digit. Having two short limbs, the single finger of this alvarezsauroid theropod species is believed to have been used to dig up termite nests. Many scientists have said that this finger may have been in its primitive form since it was not as well-developed as other alvarezsauroids. Known from a partial skeleton, this ostrich resembling dinosaur species had two short but strong forelimbs tipped with a tough, single claw. It had a reduced metacarpal with the finger bones of the third digit completely lost. Compared to other members of their theropod group, it had some peculiar and primitive features which made many paleontologists interested in them. Various scientists like Corwin Sullivan, David Hone, Paul Upchurch, Qingwei Tan, Lin Tan, Han Fenglu, Dong Xiao, and Michael Pittman along with Prof. Xu Xing, through research and proceedings by the National Academy of Sciences, stated that the Linhenykus had only a single-digit because they experienced a sort of mosaic evolution. This evolution caused the alvarezsauroids species to have the finger bones of the third and fourth digits reduced.

If you'd like to learn more about similar dinosaurs, check out our Chungkingosaurus fun facts for kids or Ludodactylus interesting facts that you're sure to love!

Linhenykus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Linhenykus'?

Linhenykus monodactylus or Linhenykus is pronounced as 'Lin-he-ni-cuss'.

What type of dinosaur was a Linhenykus?

Linhenykus is a member of the theropod group of dinosaurs. Its fossil remains were discovered in the Wulansuhai Formation which lies on the border between China and inner Mongolia. This dinosaur species was named by prof. Xu Xing but its discovery was made by Jonah N. Choiniere and Michael Pittman.

In which geological period did the Linhenykus roam the earth?

These theropod dinosaurs lived during the Late Cretaceous period about 70-80 million years ago. They had double front limbs with a single claw, setting it apart among other Alvarezsaurs.

When did the Linhenykus become extinct?

Like all dinosaur species, this small species became extinct about 165-170 million years ago. The Linhenykus skeleton was only partially found and the parts discovered were bones of the vertebral column, the forelimb, a partial pelvis, and almost complete hind limbs.

Where did a Linhenykus live?

Believed to have lived in China and Inner Mongolia, these dinosaurs made their homes in terrestrial habitats like forests, grasslands, and deserts.

What was a Linhenykus' habitat?

Linheykus monodactylus lived in deserts, grasslands, and other such terrestrial habitats, using its single-digit to dig up ant and termite nests since they were insectivores. They lived among other cub-tailed dinosaurs, horned dinosaurs, and other small Cretaceous animals.

Who did a Linhenykus live with?

This new non-avian dinosaur lived a solitary life by itself but they shared their habitats with other species of dinosaurs.

How long did a Linhenykus live?

The Linhenykus (Linhenykus monodactylus) lived for a very long time, probably for about 70-80 years just like elephants, although the exact number of years is not known.

How did they reproduce?

This recent and new dinosaur species that was a member of the theropod group reproduced sexually and were oviparous, meaning that they reproduced by laying eggs. Not much is known about Linhenykus eggs, nesting habits, and parenting styles but the young ones were considered to have become independent within a short period of time.

Linhenykus Fun Facts

What did a Linhenykus look like?

Their supposed long beak, short head, and large body make them look like ostriches!

Currently known as a partial skeleton that included bones of the vertebral column, the forelimb, a partial pelvis, and nearly complete hind limbs, this dinosaur was about a few feet tall and had greatly reduced arms among other members of the Alvarezsauroids group. Their diminished digits and arms could have been due to the process of evolution since the features found in these animals were not evident in later species. Each of the forelimbs had a single digit with a thick claw. Covered with feathers and hair, these two-legged creatures also had an enlarged second digit with a robust claw. This would have proved useful to dig up insect nests for food. Prof. Xing, Qingwei Tan, Dong Xiao, Fenglu Han, Lin Tan, Corwin Sullivan described the genus in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They found the remains of this new dinosaur in the Wulansuhai Formation of China and named it after the nearby city of Linhe.

How many bones did a Linhenykus have?

Very little is known about how many bones these dinosaurs had but since they were not very large animals, they would have definitely had over 100 bones!

How did they communicate?

Since they were dinosaurs, they would have communicated using their vocal abilities as well as body language. Growls and roars would have been examples of they communicated with one another.

How big was a Linhenykus?

You'd be surprised at the Linhenykus size. These dinosaurs were about 2 ft (0.60 m) tall and 15 in (38 cm) long. All in all, the size of this dinosaur was the same as that of a parrot! This is also why it was suspected that modern birds evolved from these theropods.

How fast could a Linhenykus move?

As they took after ostriches in appearance, we cannot say for certain if they took after them in movement as well. However, they would have moved at a fast speed given their long hind limbs and this would have also contributed to their fast escape from prey.

How much did a Linhenykus weigh?

These animals are super light in weight. Linhenykus monodactylus weighed about 1 lb (0.45 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific male or female names for these dinosaurs.

What would you call a baby Linhenykus?

The babies of these dinosaurs are called hatchlings or nestlings, just like the babies of all other dinosaurs!

What did they eat?

The diet of this new dinosaur was largely insectivorous. This meant that they consumed insects like ants, termites, grasshoppers, grubs, bugs, beetles, centipedes, and so on. The claws of these dinosaurs proved to be of great advantage to them to dig up insect nests and the claw is also said to be very similar to those found in present-day pangolins and anteaters.

How aggressive were they?

Considering their size, these dinosaurs would not have been that aggressive. Aggressive behavior probably would have only been seen if they or their habitats were threatened.

Did you know...

Linhenykus is the first known alvarezsaurid to have only a single, second digit! It also differs from other theropods that had three to four fingers.

How many fingers did the Linhenykus have and why?

These animals had only one functional finger and this finger was equipped with a sturdy claw. Although it has a diminished metacarpal, the finger of their third digits have been eradicated over time and also due to the process of evolution.

Why is it called Linhenykus?

It was named Linhenychus because it was found near Linhe and it belongs to the family of therapods. Linhenychus were insectivores. They lived in the Late Cretaceous Period in China and parts of Mongolia.

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 Brachytrachelopan fun facts, or Xenotarsosaurus facts for kids.

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

Main image by Julius T. Csotonyi.

Second image by Nobu Tamura.

Fun Linhenykus Facts For Kids

How Much Did They Weigh?

1 lb (0.45 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

15 in (38 cm)

How Tall Were They?

2 ft (0.60 m)









Scientific Name

Linhenykus monodactylus

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters
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Written by Sharon Judith

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

Sharon Judith picture

Sharon JudithBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.

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