CretaceousDinosaursHerbivorous

The fastest dinosaurs – Gallimimus

Gallimimus bullatus

Did dinosaurs move faster than modern animals? Were they not only bigger, heavier, but also faster? Who would be faster in a 100 meter run – the cheetah or the fastest dinosaurs? We will try to answer these questions in a series of upcoming articles.

Some scientists believe that the fastest dinosaurs reached the speed of an ostrich, i.e. 80 km per hour (50 mph). Even half this speed would allow them to take on Usain Bolt, the current world record holder in the 100m race!

Thanks to almost complete 3 skeletons from the Mongolian part of the desert, Gobi Gallimimus (gallimim – “chicken mimic”) became the best known ornithomimid ie ostrich dinosaur (in the films of the Jurassic Park series the most reptiles of this species “appeared”). This is one of the many dinosaurs discovered in the Gobi Desert in the 1960s and early 1970s by Polish-Mongolian paleontological expeditions, with the participation of, among others, prof. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, Ewa Roniewicz and Halszka Osmólska.

Gallimimus bullatus

Gallimimus bullatus

Gallimimus, more than twice the length of today’s ostrich, was the largest representative of this group of slender, bird-like theropods known from Africa, East Asia and the western part of North America. It had a long, toothless beak, a slender neck, a short torso, a stiffened tail, 3-toed paws and slender legs. The eyes were large, turned to the sides. The reptile was probably as intelligent as the birds.

Gallimimus lived inland, in a drier climate than its North American cousins, with intertwined droughts and rainy seasons. He wandered along the banks of rivers, probably in the company of herbivores: duck-billed dinosaurs, armored dinosaurs and sauropods. Lifting his head high above the narrow shoulders, Gallimimus scanned the area for threats from lurking predators. The Gallimimus’s only defense against hungry large predators was to run away. It took longer and longer strides, picking up speed. The total length of the lower leg and metatarsus was greater than the thigh. Such proportions are typical of fast-running dinosaurs and birds.

More about Ornithopods you can find in the articles: The heaviest ornithopods – Top 10 and The longest and largest ornithopods Top 10.

Gallimimus bullatus

Detailed data / dimension (size)

Gallimimus bullatus

Size:
  • Length: 6 meters (20 ft)
  • Height at the hip: 1.9 metres (6 ft 3 in)
  • Weight: 400 – 450 kg (880 – 990 lb)
Speed:

42–56 km/h (29–34 mph)

Lived:
  • Late Cretaceous (Maastricht)
  • 73 – 70 million years ago
Food:
  • Insects, small vertebrates, possibly also leaves and fruit
Occurrence:
  • Central Asia, Mongolia (southern Gobi Desert)
Gallimimus bullatus

Classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Clade: Dinosauria
  • Clade: Saurischia
  • Clade: Theropoda
  • Clade: †Ornithomimosauria
  • Family: †Ornithomimidae
  • Genus: †Gallimimus
  • Species: †Gallimimus bullatus
Gallimimus bullatus

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