STL Science Center

STL Science Center

04 November 2011

Another Runner

We have successfully navigated and finished our month on Cenozoic/Pleistocene mammals. It was a good month with a lot of knowledge unearthed and, upon looking back, I realized I had no idea where I should be in the list of dinosaurs I constructed last February. However, I have found my place and am ready to start back into things. Time to start back on those running dinosaurs that are always compared to birds, the Ornithomimids, more specifically this week, Ornithomimus.

Ornithomimus means "bird mimic" which is why its genus was chosen as the root for the family and subfamily names to begin with. The small toothless beak, like that of its cousin Gallimimus, indicates a potentially omnivorous diet for this fast running dinosaur; though this is still heavily debated just like it is for Gallimimus. Overall an Ornithomimus would have looked a good deal like an ostrich with a long tail and probably would have had a similar attitude not because they're related directly to ostriches, but because they would have filled a similar niche in the environment and curiosity about the surroundings and defense of territory would lead to a similar attitude most likely.

There are three species of Ornithomimus- O. edmontonicus, O. velox, and O. antiquus(?) named by Sternberg, Marsh, and Leidy respectively and in the reverse order of their naming chronologically. Dale Russell did some prominent work with the animals during the 1970's as well and this will be discussed later. However, Marsh's 1890 classification is still in use today despite any work done since then on the animals.

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