Abstract

The family Ornithomimidae is defined on the basis of the skeletal morphology of the three genera Ornithomimus, Struthiomimus, and Dromiceiomimus known in continental strata in Alberta, which are temporally equivalent to the Upper Campanian substage. At least two genera occur in Canadian Lance (Upper Maestrichtian) equivalent strata, but cannot be identified at present. A group of more primitive ornithomimoid theropods is represented else-where by the late Jurassic Elaphrosaurus and early Cretaceous Archaeornithomimus.Ornithomimid attributes include a general body form which parallels that of the ratites; elongate forelimbs, a kinetic skull, enormous eyes, a relatively highly evolved brain, and possibly a secondary palate and supertemporal fenestrae which were nearly encircled by alae of the squamosal. A reconstruction of the myology of the thigh indicates that ornithomimids were extremely fleet, but lacked the agility characteristic of modern large ground birds. They probably subsisted on small, soft-bodied animals.

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