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ORNITHOPSIS

a herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of England.
Pronunciation: or-ni-THOP-sis
Meaning: Bird-likeness
Author/s: Seeley (1870)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: East Sussex, England
Chart Position: 24

Ornithopsis hulkei

In 1870, Harry Govier Seeley was staring at two ropey old vertebrae—one from the Hastings Beds of East Sussex and one from the Wessex Formation near Brighstone Bay on the Isle of Wight—when the name "bird face" just popped into his head. Okay, that's not true. The etymology of Ornithopsis is often reported as meaning "bird face", because the Latin "opsis" can also mean "face". But in this case it means "bird-likeness" which refers to the bird-bone-like airy construction (aka pneumaticity) of the fossils, and Seeley thought that they were the property of an all new kind of "probable" dinosaur that bridged the evolutionary gap between pterosaurs and birds.

Update coming soon. Brace yourself...
(Hulke's bird-likeness)Etymology
Ornithopsis is derived from the Greek "ornis" (bird) and "opsis" (likeness, appearance), named for the light and airy, hollowed-out construction of its vertebrae—a similar feature found in the bones of modern birds. The species epithet, hulkei, honors British surgeon, geologist and fossil collector John Whitaker Hulke (1830 - 1895).
Discovery
The remains of Ornithopsis hulkei were discovered in the Wessex Formation at Brook, Isle of White, UK. The holotype (BMNH 28632) is a partial vertebra.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Cretaceous
Stage: Barremian
Age range: 130-125 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: ?
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Herbivore
Ornithopsis leedsii
In 1887 Hulke created another species of OrnithopsisOrnithopsis leedsii—based on BMNH R1985-1988, vertebrae and a partial pelvis found by Alfred Nicholson Leeds near Petersborough. These remains would later be renamed Cetiosaurus leedsi and later still Cetiosauriscus leedsii, which are both today seen as incorrect identifications. Ornithopsis leedsii is the only other species of Ornithopsis seen as potentially valid, though it may be a unique brachiosaurid worthy of its own name.
Misassigned Ornithopsis species
Coming soon...
References
• Seeley HG (1870) "On Ornithopsis, a gigantic animal of the pterodactyle kind from the Wealden".
• Hulke JW (1887) "Note on some Dinosaurian Remains in the Collection of A. Leeds, Esq. Part I. Ornithopsis leedsii, nov. sp, from the Kimmeridge Clay of Northamptonshire".
• Blows WT (1995) "The Early Cretaceous brachiosaurid dinosaurs Ornithopsis and Eucamerotus from the Isle of Wight, England".
• Moody RTJ, Buffetaut E, Naish D and Martill DM (2010) "Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective". Geological Society, Special Publication 343, Pages 57-59.
• Apesteguía S (2005) "Evolution in the hyposphene-hypantrum complex within Sauropoda" in "Thunder-Lizards: The Sauropodomorph Dinosaurs".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ORNITHOPSIS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Aug 2017.
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