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Gallimimus facts for kids

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Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous
Gallimimus 1 NHM3.jpg
Gallimimus at the Natural History Museum
Scientific classification
  • G. bullatus

Gallimimus (chicken mimic) was a fast-running dinosaur. It had a long, thin, flattened, toothless, horny beak, a small head, and a relatively large brain. Gallimimus lived in the Upper Cretaceous, about 75-70 million years ago.


Human-gallimimus size comparison
Size comparison

Gallimimus was rather ostrich-like, with a small head, toothless beak, large eyes, a long neck, short arms, long legs, and a long tail. A diagnostic character of Gallimimus is a distinctly short 'hand' relative to the humerus length, when compared to other ornithomimids. The tail was used as a counterbalance. The eyes were located on the sides of its head, meaning that it did not possess binocular vision. Like most modern birds and other theropods, it had hollow bones. Gallimimus had a number of adaptations which suggest good running ability, such as a strong ilium, heavy tail base, long limbs, a long tibia and metatarsus, and short toes, but it is unknown how fast it could run. All ornithomimids had long skulls, but that of Gallimimus was exceptionally elongated, due to an elongation of the snout. The snouts of the juvenile specimens are much shorter.

Norwegian researcher Jørn H. Hurum in 2001 published a detailed description of a complete lower jaw bone from Gallimimus bullatus. He observed that the bones composing the jaw were "paper thin", and corrects minor mistakes made in previous reconstructions of the lower jaw of G. bullatus. He also observed that the tight intramandibular joint would prevent any movement between the front and rear portions of the lower jaw.

In popular culture

The dinosaur appeared on-screen, in the motion picture Jurassic Park.

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