Ostrich dinosaur had long snout and humped back

first_imgScientists have fleshed out yet another little-known dinosaur: a giant ornithomimosaur, Deinocheirus mirificus. This species had previously been identified just from fossilized forelimbs found in Mongolia’s Gobi desert in the 1960s. Recently, also in the Gobi, a team found fossils making up nearly complete skeletons of two additional specimens. They also retrieved the skull, a hand, and the feet of one specimen from a private collector who had bought it on the black market. The fossils indicate the beast had a long snout with a deep jaw, a humped back, and a heavy pelvis supporting relatively short hind limbs with broad feet (pictured above in an artist’s reconstruction). A composite reconstruction, reported online today in Nature, suggests the beast was 11 meters long and weighed 6358 kilograms, making it the largest type of ornithomimosaur ever found. Ornithomimosaurs, which translates as “bird-mimic lizards,” are sometimes called ostrich dinosaurs for their faint resemblance to those modern birds. Fish and plant remains found within the ribs indicate Deinocheirus was omnivorous. Its diet and physical characteristics likely made it a natural for thriving along the braided rivers that crossed the Gobi millions of years ago.last_img

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