STL Science Center

STL Science Center

06 February 2015

Not James Kirk's Favorite Dinosaur

A few weeks ago I referenced a dinosaur momentarily that I thought would have been a wonderful name as a Star Trek reference. It turned out, of course, that the name comes not from Star Trek but from the legacy of the Mongolian Khanate. Khaan mckennai Clark, Norell & Barsbold, 2001 is named after the Mongolian word for ruler and the prolific American paleontologist Malcolm McKenna. More importantly, Khaan is a newer oviraptorid named within the last 20 years during a time when much was coming to light about the family. For instance, feathering schemes for an oviraptorid were never much of a debated feature for Khaan; there was some of course, but not anywhere near as much as there would have been a decade prior. Khaan is known from a holotype pair of skeletons that are both nearly complete. These skeletons are intertwined and have been nicknamed Romeo and Juliet in that way that dinosaurs often are named.
Photograph by Steve Starer of the holotype

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