The Ornithomimus was a genus of dinosaurs that inhabited our planet during the so-called Cretaceous period (about 70 million years ago). It is classified within the group of theropod ornithomimid dinosaurs.
This genus would have had an average size (compared to the other dinosaurs). It was 3 meters long and 2 meters high. However, compared to its dimensions, its weight was low, only about 200 kilograms.
Do you want to know more about this animal? Here is some really complete information about the Ornithomimus, read on and find out all about this omnivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous!
Taxonomy of the Ornithomimus
- The Ornithomimus belongs to the Animalia kingdom.
- This dinosaur corresponds to the phylum Chordata.
- Its class is Sauropsida.
- The Ornithomimus belongs to the super-order Dinosauria.
- Its order is called Saurischia.
- It corresponds to the suborder designated Theropoda.
- The Ornithomimus is part of the suborder Ornithomimosauria.
- It is located within the family called Ornithomimidae.
- Its genus is the Ornithomimus.
The vestiges that were found of this creature in fact only were a foot and also a structure known as “hand”, vestiges that were located in a formation that receives the name of Denver, nevertheless, later another discovery was made in a country located more to the north of the same continent, in Canada.
In that place a group of vestiges were found that enjoyed a much more adequate state of conservation, located in the Horseshoe Canyon formation, in addition to another individual named under the official name of Ornithomimus edmontonicus was found in the same area.
In addition to all this, there are also a series of remains that were found in the United States of America itself, exactly in the eastern area of this country, all these vestiges were assigned to the dinosaur protagonist of this article.
First of all, one of the first vestiges of this dinosaur was found in 1889, in the middle of the 19th century, vestiges that were reviewed by Marsh, an American citizen, exactly one year after the discovery.
Characteristics of the Ornithomimus
In particular we can observe that all the individuals that have been discovered presented a skull of little dimension, as well as bony elements of a very pronounced lightness, by this same reason we can presume that this animal possessed a quite considerable speed, as well as also we can indicate that the agility of movement of insurance was a resource quite used by this creature.
Its length was approximately 3 and a half meters, while its height did not exceed 200 centimeters, in addition we can affirm that its weight was approximately a fifth of a ton, about 200 kg.
The bone structure that belonged to the neck area was quite long, and the skull that hung from it was of a smaller size, as we had already mentioned in previous paragraphs.
Its posterior extremities were of an elongated quality and not so thick, these extremities ending in “feet”, which also presented a set of three fingers.
What differentiates this animal from other specimens known as ornithomimids, is that in reality the dinosaur protagonist of this article has quite elongated claws, which were located both in the area of the hands and also were located in the area of the feet.
In addition, these structures had elements identified as metacarpals (bones of the hands) and phalanges (bones of the fingers) of great length.
We have highlighted the quality of the hands and claws because this structure has several similarities with the hands or claws of modern-day animals known as sloths, so we can get an idea of what these hands actually looked like.
In addition, Henry Fairfield Osborn himself pointed out that these claws could be used to a great extent to get better food, so the animal had a great resource compared to other specimens of his time.
In the last few years, another group of specimens has also been located in the same northern country that we mentioned before, that of Canada, precisely in a province that is quite well known in the world of Paleontology, that of Alberta.
It was precisely in 2012 that this discovery was made, a discovery that resulted in obtaining a specimen in full youth and two other creatures that had already managed to reach the state of maturity, the first of these individuals had a total length of 150 centimeters and many of the scientists in charge of its study affirm with complete certainty that this creature had only 1 year of life.
On the other hand, the other two creatures enjoyed a size of 350 centimeters long, and obviously they were many more years old, the curious and really interesting thing is that it became known that only the specimens that reached maturity could present a series of elements similar or equal to the feathers that we know today typical of birds, feathers of extended quality that these specimens exposed in their structures.
These feathers, moreover, could only be seen in the area of the forearms, while other types of feathers could also be seen, also known as filament feathers, which could be seen in other areas of the structure of the bird. In general, the Ornithomimus was covered by proto-feathers (name of the prehistoric feathers of these animals) in the dorsal area but not in the ventral.
Feeding of the Ornithomimus
About the structure that many scientists call “peak”, we can say that this element had the great capacity to process all kinds of food products, so it can be presumed that in reality the Ornithomimus was a true omnivore.
Its diet could have been based on both vegetables and the meat of other animals, among the vegetables we can mention the leaves and nuts that it found around it, while it was also capable of hunting and feeding on other mammals and even other smaller reptiles, animals from the sea, and it has even been proven that it fed on insects.
The Ornithomimus in our culture
If we are assiduous television viewers it is quite possible that we have noticed the existence of a television series whose title was “Prehistoric Park”, in the chapters of that work we could frequently observe these specimens appearing and disappearing from the scenes due to various reasons.
In all these works the Ornithomimus was presented as a net specimen that lived in numerous herds, and certainly you are right, at least as far as we have been able to get to know this specimen, this was so, in addition to this it has been given the personality of a “duck”.
Because there came to exist a hypothesis that until the present time has not been able to be verified but neither denied, in which it is affirmed that this creature was the closest thing that was had to these animals that we know at the present time, known as ducks.