Our final deep-dive into dinos (for now!) with our Paleontologist, Natalia, is a dino close to our hearts – the quirky Gallimimus.
We want to extend a huge thank you to Natalia for working with us to create these posts and we hope everyone as enjoyed the special insights Natalia has brought!
If you’ve enjoyed them, please follow Natalia on Twitter (@wrycritic) for more!
The Bare Bone Basics:
Gallimimus is one of the better-understood ornithomimids (also known as “ostrich-mimic dinosaurs”, for its similarities to modern large birds). The discovery of bone beds with the same species suggests the animal could be gregarious (live in groups). It had large eyes, a long flexible neck and a gracile toothless beak.
An Interesting Story:
The fossil was discovered during collaborative Mongolian-Polish expeditions in the Gobi Desert led by numerous women behind the Iron Curtain. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska found the holotype (a species-defining skeleton) while Halszka Osmólska led the publication that initially described it; it was one of the first famous dinosaurs discovered and described by women. Currently, sadly, fossils of animals like Gallimimus are under threat of illegal poaching.
The Known Unknowns:
Despite being known from rather well-preserved specimens, specificities about the diet of Gallimimus remain arguable.
Understanding the feeding habits of prehistoric animals isn’t that straightforward, to narrow down food scientists look at the presence of edible material in the gut and coprolites (fossil poop) of the animal, textures of the teeth, presence of gastric mill (gizzard) stones, anatomy of the animal and comparisons to living animals with analogous skeletal structures. Different scientists proposed varying views on the Gallimimus diet, varying from filter feeding to opportunistic all-eater!
Natalia rates our Gallimimus: 4/5
The beak has characteristic curve; the animal was light, it had hollow, pneumatised bones, it is unlikely, us heavy people, people could ride it!