STL Science Center

STL Science Center

24 March 2018

King of Reviews

March, if everyone remembers, has been a month of review animals. Seven years ago, plus a few months because we started in January, the first animal that was featured for the week here sprinted straight onto the pages with a head full of steam. Back then our readership was a little smaller than it is today, so Gallimimus was a little less popular than many of our other dinosaurs and other fossil animals. An ornithimimid, a dinosaur that "mimics" a bird in many ways, Gallimimus bullatus was described in 1972 after initially being recovered by a joint Polish-Mongolian expedition and group of paleontologists. As with other ornithimimids, Gallimimus was a theropod dinosaur that was fairly unique within our generalized view of theropods for a variety of reasons. First of all, Gallimimus was built for running. Long legs and powerful thighs propelled the dinosaur forward in large bounds. Additionally, Gallimimus was originally thought to use its speed to chase down small mammals, reptiles, and other dinosaurs which were then swallowed. More recent reports have included insects, plants, small animals, and even filter feeding as possible dietary regimens. Skeletons of all ages of Gallimimus have been recovered so we know a fair amount about the life history of Gallimimus as well. Gallimimus was also a rather large animal, despite what its name might indicate; Gallimimus means "Chicken mimic". The name actually refers to the shape of the cervical vertebrae and not the size of the dinosaur. Gallimimus was larger than the average human, far larger than a chicken.

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