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Dinosaur
News
Go to a Gallimimus Fact Sheet
Gallimimus may have been a Filter Feeder
September 7, 2001

GallimimusGallimimus was an ostrich-like dinosaur that had a long tail. A new fossil find in Mongolia indicates that Gallimimus ate by sieving tiny bits of food (like small crustaceans, insects, and plant material) from mud and water in streams and ponds by using comb-like plates in its mouth (like a modern-day flamingo). This is the first time that this type of feeding structure has been found in a dinosaur.

Peter J. Makovicky, a vertebrate paleontologist with the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, USA, discovered the 70-million-year-old Gallimimus bullatus fossil in the Gobi Desert.

Ornithomimids: Gallimimus was an ornithomimid (bird-mimic) dinosaur, a group of dinosaurs that were ostrich-like but had a long tail. They had short arms with three clawed fingers on each hand, long legs with three clawed toes on each leg, and hollow bones. A long tail acted as a counterbalance and as a stabilizer during fast turns. Many ornithomimids swallowed stones that served as gastroliths (stomach stones), grinding up tough food like plants and hard-shelled animals. Early ornithomimid dinosaurs (ornithomimosaurs like Pelecanimimus) had hundreds of teeth, later versions (like Anserimimus) had only a few teeth, and the most advanced ornithomimids (like Gallimimus) had a toothless beak.

Gallimimus was a fast-running dinosaur with a very long, thin, flattened, toothless, horny beak, a small head, and a relatively large brain. The bottom front part of its beak was shaped like a shovel. It had large eyes positioned on opposite sites of its head, ruling out binocular vision (depth perception). It had a long neck, long tail, and long legs. Gallimimus was about 13-20 ft (4-6 m) long, was 6.3 ft (1.9 m) tall at the hips, and may have weighed about 970 pounds (440 kg).

Reference: Nature, Aug. 30, 2001.

RELATED LINKS
A page on the dinosaur Gallimimus.

A brief fact sheet on Gallimimus.

A page on the Cretaceous period, when Gallimimus lived.

Other fossils found in Asia.

Chart of geological time.




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