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GALLIMIMUS

an omnivorous ornithomimid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia.
gallimimus.png
Pronunciation: GAL-i-MIEM-us
Meaning: Chicken mimic
Author/s: Osmólska et al. (1972)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Gobi desert, Mongolia
Chart Position: 182

Gallimimus bullatus

With an un-trained eye it's hard to see what possesed Osmólska, Roniewics and Barsbold to think that Gallimimus resembled a chicken. It was six meters long and as heavy as a horse! But scrutiny of its neck vertebrae revealed similarities to those of Galliformes—the fowl family that includes chickens—and in keeping with the trend of naming all ornithomimosaurs after living or mythgical birds (Harpymimus-Harpy mimic, Pelecanimimus-Pelican mimic, Anserimimus-Goose mimic, and so on) Gallimimus means "the Chicken mimic".

Although dwarfed by the primitive Deinocheirus, Gallimimus was the largest of the new-fangled advanced ornithomimosaurids but had the shortest hands relative to arm length. Large side mounted eyes meant its depth perception was poor at best, but its long and powerful legs enabled it to shift like a Road Runner which, funnily enough, is one of the birds not yet mimic'd. We can't help thinking that the authors missed a trick there.

The ornithomimosaurs in general had relatively small heads and were the first of the theropod branch to evolve away from a purely carnivorous diet to enjoy a varied spread of lizards and insects with greens, and maybe the odd egg. Once upon a time there was a theory that ridges on the long snout of Gallimimus may have anchored a duck-like filter feeding attachment so it could supplement its diet with sieved pondlife, but such a feature would've been a little redundant in its rather arid habitat.
Etymology
Gallimimus is derived from the Latin "gallus" (chicken) and "mimos" (to mimic) apparently because of its chicken-like neck.
The species epithet, bullatus, is derived from the Latin "bulla" (hollow swelling) and "atus" (provided with). According to the authors this is specifically a reference to "wearing the bulla" - a golden capsule that all freeborn Roman boys were entitled to wear around their neck.
Discovery
The first fossils of Gallimimus were discovered at "Tsagan Hushu" (the same zone as Tarbosaurus bataar) in the Nemegt Formation, Ömnögovi Aimag (South Gobi Province), Mongolia, by a joint Polish-Mongolian expedition led by Professor Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska in 1963. The holotype (GIN AN MNR no. 100/11) is a partial skeleton including the skull and lower jaws.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age range: 71-69 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 6 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 200 Kg
Diet: Omnivore
References
• Halszka Osmólska, Ewa Roniewicz & Rinchen Barsbold (1972) "A New dinosaur, Gallimimus Bullatus (Ornithomimidae), from the upper Cretaceous of Mongolia."
• Hurum, J. (2001) "Lower jaw of Gallimimus bullatus" in Tanke, Carpenter and Skrepnick "Mesozoic Vertebrate Life".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "GALLIMIMUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 19th Oct 2017.
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