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Welcome to our ORNITHOLESTES entry...
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ORNITHOLESTES

a meat-eating coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of North America.
ornitholestes
Pronunciation: Or-nith-oh-LESS-teez
Meaning: Bird robber
Author/s: Osborne (1903)
Synonyms: Coelurus hermanni (Hay, 1934)
First Discovery: Morrison Formation, USA
Chart Position: 62

Ornitholestes hermanni

Ornitholestes is known from a single, almost complete skeleton unearthed at Bone Cabin Quarry in North America's embarrassingly fossil-rich Morrison Formation. During the Late Jurassic this area was dominated by Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus, but they weren't the only predators around, and their respective love of giant sauropods and mid-sized ornithopods from a dining point of view left a nice little niche for the likes of Ornitholestes to exploit.

Although shorter in the hindlimbs than some other small theropods and probably not as fast, Ornitholestes were built for ambushing small vertebrates and pillaging bird's nests (hence the name 'bird-robber'), and were probably nippy enough to subsidize their diet with the odd insect. They were equipped with sharp claws and two types of flesh-tearing teeth, and were probably big enough to kill baby dinosaurs, though perhaps not the apex predator variety. However, this didn't affect their flavour and made them no less appetizing to the adults.

Ornitholestes was once thought to have had a nose horn, but recent analysis has questioned that assumption. Whilst more robust than other small theropods such as Compsognathus and Coelophysis, the only known skull is so battered it's difficult to tell what goes where and the once-thought horn is likely a smashed nose bone that went astray during fossilization.
(Hermann's bird robber)Etymology
Ornitholestes is derived from from the Greek "ornis" (bird) and "lestes" (robber), which was suggested by Dr. Theodore Gill. The species epithet, hermanni, honors American Museum of Natural History preparator Adam Hermann.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Jurassic
Stage: Kimmeridgian
Age range: 156-151 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 2 meters
Est. max. hip height: 0.7 meters
Est. max. weight: 20 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Tetanurae
Coelurosauria
Ornitholestes
hermanni
References
• Henry Fairfield Osborn (1903) "Ornitholestes hermanni, a new compsognathoid dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic".
• John Long, Peter Schouten (2009) "Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds".
• Holtz, Thomas R.; Molnar, Ralph E.; Currie, Philip J. (2004) "Basal Tetanurae" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ORNITHOLESTES :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Aug 2017.
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