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an omnivorous ornithomimosaurian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia.
Pronunciation: HAR-pee-MIEM-us
Meaning: Harpy mimic
Author/s: Barsbold and Perle (1984)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Dornogovi, Mongolia
Chart Position: 250

Harpymimus okladnikovi

Garudimimus aside, Harpymimus is the only "bird mimic" to be named after a mythical bird rather than a real one, and the first of only three ornithomimosaurs that are known to have had teeth. It has 22 pegs, and all at the front of the lower jaw, which is enough to trump Shenzhousaurus with its 14-18. But the pair were eclipsed by Pelecanimimus whose total tooth count of two hundred and twenty (yes, 220) puts every other theropod dinosaur to shame.

Typical of ornithomimosaurs, Harpymimus was long in the legs, arms, neck and skull. Modestly clawed hands and small, cylindrical, unserrated teeth were designed for grabbing (maybe insects and other small critters) rather than tearing at flesh, while its beak-tipped snout was ideal for foraging. All things considered, it seems Harpymimus was into omnivory, but its toothless, later-living, ornithomimosaur relatives were probably purely herbivorous.

Ornithomimosaurs are often called "ostrich mimics" because of their general shape and reputation as the swift-runniest of the theropod dinosaurs. The quickest theropods mostly sport a design quirk known as an "arctometatarsus" — a feature in which the middle one of three metatarsals (the long bones that join the ankle and toes) is "pinched" by those that flank it and squeezed into an upwards tapering wedge until the thin end is obscured from view. Harpymimus (and Garudimimus and Beishanlong) sport a semi-arctometatarsus, for want of a better term, i.e., the middle metatarsal is visible from bottom to top because the pinching is less extreme, so perhaps it wasn't as fast as some of its brethren.
(Okladnikov's Harpy Mimic) Etymology
Harpymimus is derived from "Harpy" (the half-women-half-bird sisters of the Greek Goddess Iris) and the Latin "mimos" (mimic). The Harpies, aka Aello, Celaeno, and Ocypete, were originally beautiful storm maidens but became hideous, screechy and scratchy in later accounts and would raid the battle field for the weak or dying and torture them all the way to Tartarus. However, they are most famous for hassling the Zeus-blinded Phinaeus, stealing what they could carry from his Al Fresco buffet and pee'ing on the rest... until they were smacked-up by the Boreads—the flying branch of Jason's fleecing Argonauts. The species epithet, okladnikovi, honours the late Soviet archeologist Alexey Pavlovich Okladnikov.
First discovery
The remains of Harpymimus were discovered in the Khuren Dukh Formation (previously part of the Shinekhudag/Shinehuduk Formation), Khuren Dukh, Dornogovi, Mongolia by a Soviet-Mongolian expedition to the Gobi Dessert in 1981. Other dinosaurs from this area include the ceratopsian Psittacosaurus mongoliensis and the ornithopod Altirhinus kurzanovi. The holotype (IGM 100/29) is a partial skeleton with a virtually complete, but badly crushed skull.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Cretaceous
Stage: Barremian
Age range: 130-125 mya
Est. max. length: 3 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 50 Kg
Diet: Omnivore
• Barsbold, R. and Perle, A. (1984) "On first new find of a primitive orithomimosaur from the Cretaceous of the MPR".
• Y. Kobayashi and R. Barsbold (2005) "Anatomy of Harpymimus okladnikovi Barsbold and Perle 1984 (Dinosauria; Theropoda) of Mongolia" in K. Carpenter (ed.) "The Carnivorous Dinosaurs".
• John A. Long (2009) "Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds".
• G.S. Paul (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "HARPYMIMUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Sep 2017.