Ornithomimid (or-NITH-oh-MY-mid)

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Ornithomimids (OR-nith-oh-MY-mids) were theropod dinosaurs, but unlike most, they had small heads with toothless beaks. They ate seeds, fruits, and perhaps small animals. Like other herbivorous dinosaurs, many ornithomimids swallowed small stones, called gastroliths, to help break down tough foods in their stomachs. Ornithomimids are sometimes called “ostrich dinosaurs” because of their resemblance to those modern birds. Recent discoveries in China show that some species lived in groups. Our local fossils include a large piece of a tibia (shin bone), an ankle bone, and claws.




Fragment of the knee end of a tibia, or shin bone, from an ornithomimid dinosaur.  An outline shows the shape of the missing shaft and foot end of the bone.

Fragment of the knee end of a tibia, or shin bone, from an ornithomimid dinosaur. Click to zoom.

The curved and pointed claw from an ornithomimid dinosaur.

This claw is flattened on the bottom, which is typical of ornithomimid claws. It would have been covered by a sheath of keratin, the same material that makes up your fingernail. Click to zoom.

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