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Mononykus olecranus replies



"How many specimens of Mononykus have been found with these digging arms?  Is 
there any chance that they could somehow be pathological, or have several 
specimens been found with the arms?" (Ethan Skinner)

I have just read the Dinosaur Discoveries piece on Mononykus from issue #2, page
11.  Diane Farish says there that two specimens have been found intact (they are
from Mongolia), but that there are remains of close relatives from Argentina.  

"The length of the manus might be the same result achieved by T-rex and for the 
same reason, balance. For a strictly bipedal animal forward weight bias would be
a disadvantage." (Roger Compton)  

Diane Farish (Ibid.) comments: "The elbow head of its specific name [olecranus] 
refers to its elbow-like structure that, along with bones sized for strong 
muscle attachments, give its forearms unexpected strength for their small size. 
Theropods with disproportionately small forelimbs usually had weak forearm 
muscles."  Sizing down of arms (to include their muscles) ought to mean that 
balance and speed are more important that any function of the arms.  However, 
the arms, and most importantly, the claws of Mononykus, suggest heavy and 
specialized use.