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SAURORNITHOIDES

a meat-eating troodontid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia.
Pronunciation: sor-ORN-nih-THOY-deez
Meaning: Bird-like lizard
Author/s: Osborn (1924)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Ömnögovi, Mongolia
Chart Position: 112

Saurornithoides mongoliensis

Not to be confused with Sinornithoides - a close relative who, like Mei long, was discovered in a snoozing position with its snout tucked under its left "wing" - Saurornithoides was the first troodontid discovered in Asia.

The prescence of large eye sockets suggest it was a nocturnal hunter, and with a leggy, lightweight build it was ideally suited to tearing around the now gobi desert in the still of night. Like the American Troodon, a relatively large brain put it in the smart class of dinosaurs but etiquette was still lacking and scientists speculate that it used its long arms and grasping hands to seize live prey, and its feet - with large-clawed second toes - to slash the poor thing to death.

Saurornithoides means "bird-like-lizard" because of its presumed proximity to the ancestry of birds, but its name was almost lost when a clumsy publisher attached a footnote of Nopsca's renaming of fossils previously assigned to Iguanodon prestwichii (intended for Teinurosaurus) to Saurornithoides in a genus list in 1928.
(Mongolian Bird-like lizard) Etymology
Saurornithoides is derived from the Greek "ornithos" (bird), "oid" (form) and "sauros" (lizard).
The species epithet - mongoliensis, refers to its discovery in Mongolia.
Discovery
The fossils of Saurornithoides were recovered from the Djadokhta Formation, Bayn-Dzak locality, southern Mongolia in 1923.
The holotype (AMNH 6516) includes a partial skull, backbone, pelvis, legs, and feet. Specimen IVPP V 10597 (a partial left hindlimb) was originally thought to be the property of a juvenile Saurornithoides mongoliensis but in 2012 Matt Carrano realised it was actually quite unique and Xing Xu christened it Philovenator later the same year.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Campanian
Age range: 84-71 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 3 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 48 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
Second Species?
Based on a larger specimen from slightly younger rocks in Ulan Bator, Rinchen Barsbold named a second species of Sinornithoides in 1974. However, a 2009 review of the genus offered precious little support for this idea and Sinornithoides junior (younger bird-like lizard) was re-classified as a new genus - Zanabazar.
References
• H.F. Osborn (1924) "Three new Theropoda, Protoceratops zone, central Mongolia." American Museum Novitates, November 7, 1924. Number 144.
• R. Barsbold (1983) "Carnivorous dinosaurs from the cretaceous of Mongolia."
• John Long and Peter Schouten (2009) "Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds".
• Mark A. Norell, Peter J. Makovicky, Gabe S. Bever, Amy M. Balanoff, James M. Clark, Rinchen Barsbold and Timothy Rowe (2009) "A Review of the Mongolian Cretaceous Dinosaur Saurornithoides (Troodontidae: Theropoda)."
• Mark A. Norell, Peter J. Makovicky, Gabe S. Bever, Amy M. Balanoff, James M. Clark, Rinchen Barsbold and Timothy Rowe (2009) "Saurornithoides mongoliensis"
(On-line, interactive CT scan of the skull @ DigiMorph.org).
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "SAURORNITHOIDES :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 25th Jul 2017.
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