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Harpymimus

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harpymimus

Harpymimus (Wikimedia Commons)

Name:

Harpymimus (Greek for "Harpy mimic"); pronounced HAR-pee-MIME-us

Habitat:

Plains of central Asia

Historical Period:

Early Cretaceous (135-125 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 13 feet long and 200 pounds

Diet:

Probably omnivorous

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Long, narrow skull; teeth on lower jaw

About Harpymimus:

As you might expect from an early ornithomimid ("bird mimic") dinosaur, Harpymimus had some primitive characteristics that set it apart from late Cretaceous relatives like Ornithomimus and Struthiomimus, chief among them a scattering of teeth along its lower jaw. (Oddly enough, the only other toothed ornithomimid, Pelecanimimus, had a whopping 220 teeth--the most of any theropod, let alone ornithomimid, yet discovered.) Since it's currently believed that Harpymimus was directly ancestral to later ornithomimids, one can only conclude that the subsequent de-evolution of teeth was an adaptation to an omnivorous diet consisting mainly of insects and small animals (which didn't need to be chewed).

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