Road runner dinosaur revealed in China

Road runner, meet your dinosaur predecessor, an "extreme" runner unearthed by an international paleontology team in central China.

In the journal Zootaxa, a team led by Xing Xu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reports, Xixianykus zhangi ('SHEE-shya-nye-kus jong-eye') describes a pint-sized, two-legged sprinter from about 85 million years ago. The fossil's legs, hips and backbone adds to growing evidence that the dinosaur's "parvicursorine" kindred, "represent extreme cursors (runners) among non-avian dinosaurs," says the study.

""The limb proportions of Xixianykus are among the most extreme ever recorded for a theropod dinosaur," says study researcher Corwin Sullivan, also of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in a statement. "This doesn't provide a basis for estimating its top speed, but it does show that Xixianykus was a highly efficient runner."

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