Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ornithomimus

Ornithomimus
Ornithomimus means "bird mimic," and what an appropriate name that is! This genus of Cretaceous Dinosaur had long slender legs, a log neck, and a toothless beak. Think of it as an ancient Ostrich- they had similar omnivorous diets, similar body-types, and could even run at comparable speeds. They may have also been covered with feathers, but the evidence doesn't prove anything 100%.

The fist Ornithomimus fossils were uncovered in Colorado back in 1889. Who found them? Why none other than one of our Bone Wars buddies, Othniel C. Marsh! He named the genus in 1890, and since then more fossils have been located in other spots of North America, as well as in Mongolia.

Ornithomimus fed on plants, fruits, seeds, and small creatures like insects and tiny mammals. They had no teeth and very small heads so it is unlikely that they ate anything very large. Even though their heads were small, they had large brain cases. This suggests either a greater level of intelligence, or a larger brain devoted to movement and kinesthetic pursuits.

Status : Extinct for 65 million years
Location : North America, Mongolia
Size : Height up to 8ft (2.4m), length up to 20ft (6m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Superorder : Dinosauria
Order : Saurischia -- Family : †Ornithomimidae -- Genus : †Ornithomimus

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