|Photograph by Steve Starer of the holotype|
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.